Niche Fragrance Magazine

Author

Lisa Jones - page 2

Lisa Jones has 26 articles published.

A decade ago in a little secondhand bookshop, I bought a biography of an obscure biophysicist written by a New York Times journalist and my life changed. Yes, I blame it all on Luca Turin and Chandler Burr; thanks to them I fell in love with L’Heure Bleue and haven’t looked back since.

On the doorstep of December

in Reviews by

I think I’m allowed to use the C word now, aren’t I?
I woke up this morning to a frosting of white on the leaves and grass, and friends in the Alps have been posting pictures of snow on the mountains. It’s cold and clear, with starry nights and bluebird days that merit a scarf and gloves. It’s time to pull out the special fragrances that work best at this time of year.

My hand reached into my perfume cupboard for Serge Lutens Arabie, a perfume I only wear around Christmas, but I was shocked to be unable to find it. (Sadly I have begun to succumb to putting things ‘somewhere safe’ – so safe you can’t find them.) This is infuriating, as I am now stuck with a yearning for the Christmas-pudding richness of Arabie. Stuffed with spices and dried fruits, this is a truly seasonal fragrance that I can’t imagine being able to wear in summer’s heat. In winter though, its richness is warming and mouthwatering, and just thinking about it makes me want to hit the kitchen and start baking hyper-rich fruitcake and pudding, with some mince pies for added yum. I think it may be ‘stir up Sunday’ this week, and we’ll put all the flavours of Arabie into our Christmas cake – candied mandarin peel, dried dates, sultanas and raisins, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla; all that will be missing is rich resins and woods – cedar, sandalwood, myrrh and benzoin.[...] KEEP ON READING

Relationships teach us a lot

in Reviews by

Both the relationships between fragrances and those with friends can teach us a lot, as I found out this last week. I mentioned before the joys of having like-minded perfumisters and perfumsistas to chat to about this obsession with Obsession and craving for Chaos. This month one of mine tipped me off to a delicacy I simply had to try: Mauboussin de Mauboussin.

I made a small financial investment (very small – this is not expensive) and the three-sided pyramidal bottle is now on my dresser. My friend Pia from Olfiction  had been the catalyst for this, as she felt there was a similarity between Mauboussin and Femme de Rochas, a classic plum and leather chypre. I have a great fondness for chypres, and leather ones in particular, treasuring my tiny bottle of vintage Femme extrait. Even though the top notes of my bottle are starting to ‘turn’ to the burnt, hairspray-like sharpness of damage, the heart and base are still beautiful and I have vowed to wear this rapidly-fading beauty as much as possible while it still glows like a plum-coloured lantern.[...] KEEP ON READING

Tea with (smelly) friends

in Thoughts by

Two weekends ago I went to London with a good friend I’ve known since I was in my 20s – that’s her in the photo with me – Sam who writes the I Scent You A Day blog. We went to hang out and drink tea with a group of perhaps twenty people, many of whom we hadn’t physically met before. What did we have in common? Perfume. How did we know these people? The internet.

Now some people get upset when I refer to them as Smelly Friends, so I may need to use some other terminology, such as Fragonerds, Perfumistas and Perfumisters, or just fragrance afficionados, but it all boils down to the same thing. We are people who love perfume. You, dear reader, may very well be one too.[...] KEEP ON READING

The problem of mugginess

in Reviews by

As the weather turns from the beautiful warm summer we’ve enjoyed in Wales this year, and we move towards what I hope will be a gloriously colourful autumn, this week I felt a bit stuck. Mugginess had me stymied.

You may have noticed that my fragrance choices are very much dictated by the weather. I’m lucky not to work in an office, so I don’t have to worry about wearing perfumes that are ‘office appropriate’ and when I do have to go to a meeting, there is Chanel No. 19. (Meetings were what No 19 was created for, surely?) So I can pretty much follow my instincts with what I choose to wear each day. I’m a massive fan of greens and citruses in the summer, but in autumn I tend to turn – like the leaves – to ambers. These are the scent equivalent of cosy fuzzy jumpers – not the full-blown winter warmers that you need to keep the frost at bay, but soothing, enveloping comfort scents that are as obvious and easy to wear at this time of year as a cashmere hoody.[...] KEEP ON READING

Feeling hot, hot, hot

in Reviews by

When I moved back to Wales from Switzerland, where summers are HOT and winters COLD, I found I couldn’t wear some of my favourite fragrances because they need the extremes of weather to work. This was a surprise, to put it mildly. I had assumed that fragrances just work, regardless of climate.

Here in Britain this summer has been a comparative heatwave, with temperatures reaching a scorching 30C at times and surprisingly regular sunny days. I know this is lukewarm for many readers, who are used to coping with 40+ regularly, but in Dear Old Blighty it’s worth commenting on. Especially for me, as I have been able to get out those much-missed hot weather fragrances and have been wearing them delightedly, trying to figure out why they are now enjoyable again.[...] KEEP ON READING

Scented souvenirs

in Reviews by

I keep a bottle of supermarket Eau de Cologne in my fridge and just soused myself in it after hanging the washing out in the hot sun. It was gratifyingly cooling and refreshing, and its scent flashed me back to summers spent in France and Switzerland, where it was often this hot, and I learned this cooling trick.

Because I’m writing a review rather than simply enjoying my favourite eau, which by the way is Mont St Michel Eau de Cologne Ambrée, I took notice of the barbershop-ish initial impression it gives me. As a confirmed anti-frou-frou woman who loathes ruffles, pink and florals, I spent years trying to find fragrances that worked for me. (Thank goodness for Yves Saint Laurent, is all I can say.) Anyway, I came across this particular favourite of mine via soap (another weakness). I was in France and needed to buy a bar to use while I was away. After sniffing several packages, I found the soap version of this eau de Cologne and was pleased by its non-floral spicy and ambery notes. I used it the whole time I was away, and now it is one of my favourite ‘flashback’ scents.[...] KEEP ON READING

Oh the cologne! Part 2

in Reviews by

If you can’t stand the heat, get (fragrance) out of the kitchen

I am fascinated by the wide array of notes that are eminently suited to eaux de Cologne – it means that everyone can find a version that suits them. Today I’ve gone into the kitchen to try eaux based around food and drink – from a mouthwatering herbal refresher to a nice cuppa tea.

You may think it’s not worth spending money on a fragrance that is essentially built around topnotes and designed to be fleeting and gone in a couple of hours. However, many big-name brands are ridiculously affordable for fine fragrance (15 Euro for 125mls? no, that’s not a typo), and supermarket brands are even cheaper. I almost always have some Maurer and Wirtz 4711 original eau de cologne in my handbag, just like my Grandmother before me (no violet sweeties though – mint chewing gum is more my speed). I use it like the French do – to cool down and refresh my skin on hot days. I have family in France where in every bathroom there is a bottle of Eau de Cologne, usually a litre bottle of a supermarket brand, and it’s treated like any other bathroom consumable such as showergel or shampoo.[...] KEEP ON READING

Oh the Cologne!

in Reviews by

Part one – citrus classicism

Following NeoXerxes’ fascinating post on oranges in perfumery, I’m sticking to the citrus theme, but taking a different twist on it, looking at some of the simplest, most refreshing fragrances out there: Eaux de Cologne. While ‘Cologne’ has come to mean ‘perfume for men’, particularly in the USA, it actually is a very specific category of fragrance.

Just to start there with the name – ‘eau de’ means ‘water of’ and Cologne is a city in Germany, so when you have more than one, you multiply the water, rather than the city: hence Eaux de Cologne. While there was a perfumery industry across Europe in the 18th century it was Cologne where these refreshing light fragrances were made popular by Italian perfumer, Jean Marie Farina. But you can find more about the history of Eau de Cologne elsewhere on the interwebs. I will keep it simple and describe them as fragrances made at a lower strength (under 5% of scent ingredients) for more frequent application.[...] KEEP ON READING

Flashes of appealing simplicity

in Reviews by

I already gave a full review of my stand-out favourite of Andy Tauer’s Tauerville Flash range, Fruitchouli Flash, which turned out to be a happy modern peachy chypre that reminded me of Mitsouko. I have to let you in on a secret – I think Andy has had another little brush with the classic Guerlain fairy, more of which in a moment.

I’ve tried the whole range and overall I will say that I don’t think these fragrances have the complexity of Andy’s main line. However, this isn’t a complaint, because he has reduced his prices significantly with the Flashes and this must have an effect on the ingredients he uses. As a perennially skint perfumista, I applaud this. To be able to buy niche fragrance at high street prices is a wonderful thing. And of course, affordability also enables people like me to think about getting really funky with fragrance and layering, which is something I think the Flashes would be really good for.[...] KEEP ON READING

Sneaky chypre in a flash

in Reviews by

Andy Tauer’s Fruitchouli Flash was a fragrance I had to grit my teeth before applying. You know I said I’m not much of a fan of florals? Well I like fruitchoulis even less. At least you know where you are with a flower even if you don’t fond of it. I struggled through the era of ghastly, cloying fruitchoulis (the bane of every elevator at the time) and was very glad to see the genre start to die back a little. Then Andy did this to me.

Now I am an unashamed Andy Tauer fangirl, and I have been ever since I made the pilgrimage to Spiegelgasse in Zurich to visit his friend Pascal’s medieval bookshop and try the Tauer perfumes, which used to be attached to a bookcase outside the front door by lengths of string. I fell in love with L’Air du Desert Marocain and it is still one of my favourite perfumes, one I turn to regularly for its ability to be perfect in any situation. I like most of Andy’s fragrances, and love a few of them, with only a handful being full-blown misses for me. With a record like that, how could Andy make something as gruesome as a *gasp* Fruitchouli?[...] KEEP ON READING

Wearing a halo every day

in Reviews by

By Lisa Jones on April 4th, 2016

Jean-Claude Ellena fascinates me. I have read his book, (The Diary of a Nose), I have read a book about his creative process, (Chandler Burr’s The Perfect Scent), and I have smelled a lot of his fragrances. He is charming and charismatic, one of the original spokespeople for the emerging celebrity perfume ‘noses’ when they started to be recognised by the public, and his appointment as the in-house perfumer at Hermés was a newsworthy event in the wider world of fragrance fandom, not just the perfume industry. He created the Hermessence range that placed Hermés firmly in the niche fold, as well as enormously successful mainstream releases such as the Jardin series, Jour, Voyage, Terre, and the rejuvenated Eaux.[...] KEEP ON READING

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