Niche Fragrance Magazine

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Wear a leather jacket

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It’s getting chillier and after my last post about Chypres, I started thinking about other categories of fragrance that might be good at this time of year. It’s the perfect time of year to re-organise your cupboards for a new season and bring out the leather.

Leather fragrances, like chypres, hark back to the age of glamour and romance, summed up by the classic movies of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Can’t you picture Cary Grant or Kathryn Hepburn wise-cracking and arching an eyebrow sardonically while wearing crisp tailoring and smelling elegantly of leather with a faint hint of roses or sandalwood? KEEP ON READING

Scenting the ski lift

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Riding on a ski lift with my friend last week we were chatting, as you do, about our teenage years. When we got around to perfume – that most potent of memory-joggers – we laughed about the changing-room-filling cloud of assorted Impulse body sprays that were the compulsory scent of those years (have things changed much? My own teenage daughter has quite a stash of body sprays). When we moved on to our first real perfume, hers was Revlon’s Charlie (very sophisticated at the time) and mine was Cabriole by Elizabeth Arden, a gift from my wonderful Aunt Tina, who was a journalist. KEEP ON READING

Oh the cologne! Part 2

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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

Shalimar: The Original Golden Girl

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Sitting down to write a review of Guerlain’s Shalimar is like looking up at the top of Mount Everest and wondering how the hell you even begin the climb. It seems to cover (in one single bottle) a lot of the themes and notes people go looking for in separate perfumes – if you want vanilla, it’s the textbook example, if you want smoke and incense, well you got that too, if you want amber, then Shalimar is the mother of all modern ambers, and if you want animalics and leather, ditto. If you also happen to be the type of person who is interested in freaky notes, like baby diaper, burning tires, tar, and slightly rancid butter, then, why yes, Shalimar also has you covered. KEEP ON READING

Mazzolari Lui: Raging Beast or Purring Pussycat?

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beast grafiti

Mazzolari Lui is crazy sexy good. Yes, ok, technically it’s a men’s perfume (“Lui” means “Him” in Italian) and if you read the often hilarious reviews for this online, you will see an awful lot of male reviewers using words such as “virile”, “masculine” and “testosterone” which is akin to putting up big, neon signs reading, “Wimmen Folk Turn Back Now!” and pissing around it to demarcate the territory.

One review in particular on Basenotes had me writing to my friend, Sjorn, at Essenza Nobile, begging for a sample of Mazzolari Lui straight away. Written by a guy called Montagne, it opens with possibly the best first sentence ever written about a perfume: KEEP ON READING

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