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Tabac Blond versus Tabac Blond

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Lately, I’ve been testing dupe oils against the original fragrances to see how they measure up. It’s for the attar book I’m writing – I realized that dupe oils fall into the broad category of concentrated perfume oils and that people are intensely interested in them. I went into the exercise reluctantly, fully expecting to hate the dupe oils on principle for lazily copying someone else’s hard work. And I do.

But I’ll admit: I learned some interesting things. Chiefly, that (a) dupes succeed best when they’re copying a fragrance with a simple structure, like Jo Malone perfumes and some of the Tom Fords, (b) that some dupes are so scarily close to the original that it becomes very difficult to justify shelling out for the original, no matter how much that makes me grit my teeth, and finally, (c) one can be perfectly happy with a dupe – ecstatic even – until you wear it side by side with the original. KEEP ON READING

Funk, Punk and Junk

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Leather and oud are two of the most popular notes in niche and even designer/mainstream perfumery at the moment.  Of course leather has been a popular theme for fragrances for many years for both men and women—the Russian Leathers/Cuirs de Rusie, the Knize Tens and the Cabochards and Bandits all attest to that.  Oud is a little different—long used in middle eastern perfumery, oud really hit the mainstream awareness with Yves Saint Laurent’s oud-focused M7 (2002), and has been off to the races ever since.  It is now so over used—often utilizing synthetics instead of the real thing to cash in on its current popularity—that it is considered a little vieux jeu.  In other words, if you are only now getting around to putting out an oud scent, you have missed the boat. KEEP ON READING

Ombre Indigo: Making an Artistic Statement with Artificiality

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Photography: ©Gustavo Pellizzon

Sometimes, you come across a fragrance that you like and admire, but are also perfectly happy to live without – for me, Ombre Indigo by Olfactive Studio is one such fragrance.

A fairly unusual take on the well-trodden leather theme, Ombre Indigo sets a syrupy yet tart plum note against an intensely resinous background (benzoin and frankincense) and a rather butch leather note. The petitgrain opening is so sharply green it almost comes off as mentholated, and lends an attractive cold air vibe to the first half hour. The startlingly turquoise color of the liquid itself also adds to the impression of froideur. KEEP ON READING

Dior Homme Parfum: French with an Arab Accent

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Full disclosure: I love Dior Homme Intense. It’s one of my favorite perfumes ever, not just my favorite masculine. So when I learned that Francois Demarchy, Dior’s in-house perfumer and the man behind Eau Sauvage Parfum (2012) and Fahrenheit Le Parfum (2014), was going to turn possibly the most beloved of Dior men’s fragrances into a pure parfum, I was both worried and excited.

On the one hand, Demarchy has met a gap in the men’s market for pure parfum versions of classic scents, and has done so competently and to general critical acclaim. On the other hand, when perfumers take on the task of working backwards and producing a pure parfum version of an original EDT or EDP (when it was traditionally the other way around), it must be as difficult as taking an orphaned baby, extracting it’s DNA, and extrapolating backwards to arrive at a picture of its mother that will seem convincing to everyone. It’s a journey that’s fraught with difficulties. KEEP ON READING

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