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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

Lancôme Sagamore: Boy or girl?

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Lavender happens to be a tricky note for me. It’s there in a huge proportion of fragrances but I only seem to be able to register two variants of its presence. It will either dominate the entire composition rendering it a soliflore or it will blend into the background diminished to an extra in the cast of ingredients. I have the same problem with fig leaf. I have very rarely seen uses of these two notes that manage to tread that fine line, be visible but also allow other players to have their say as to which direction the fragrance will take. In the case of fig leaf, Annick Goutal Nimfeo Mio is a characteristic example of a composition where yes, it’s all about the rough, wooly, palmate leaf, but in a unique way it doesn’t smell like a variant of  Diptyque Philosykos, the golden standard for this ingredient. It’s a completely new idea. The only lavender prominent scents that seem to offer a new take on lavender are (marginally) Gris clair…,  the short lived and criminally under-rated Tom Ford Lavender Palm and the old faithful Lancôme Sagamore. KEEP ON READING

My ten autumn perfect perfumes

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I’ve always loved autumn, even as a child. Of course, a child loves most things anyway, but even if the arrival of autumn meant the end of summer holiday’s freedom and the beginning of a new school term, I still loved autumn. The colours drove me wild with excitement. I used to spend hours collecting the most beautiful fallen leaves for the collage projects we always had going in the art class during autumn months. I loved the smells too, the smoke of burnt dead leaves, the damp scent of foggy mornings, the tangy sweet aroma of soft fruit fermenting on the ground, the huge yellow and white chrysanthemums from my grandma’s garden, and that dark, mossy forest smell of autumn soil slowly warming up in the gentle, pallid glow of October sun. KEEP ON READING

Papillon Perfumery Anubis – smoking hot

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I confess I had certain expectations for Anubis. It’s never a good way to approach a perfume or anything else for that matter. You have to be prepared for the unexpected or at least take it into account. Such is life, such is perfume. I have to confess something else too: my expectations were not met. Anubis proved to be different from the image I had in my mind. My third confession: I absolutely love it!

Yes, Anubis is a smoky leather with spicy, resinous, floral and ambered elements. I was expecting that. And I was also expecting something incredibly powerful, aggressive and very masculine, the smoke and leather to rule them all. But Anubis is a lot softer and more rounded and probably all the better for it. It has that textural feeling of something a bit oily, but also powdery, creamy and silky, like rubbing pollen between fingers. Texture is very important in a perfume for me. It has to entice  me, to want it on my skin, to slip into it like I would in a beautiful dress. KEEP ON READING

S-Perfume 100% Love-100% strangely delicious

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S-Perfume 100% Love  is one odd little creature. And why not? It has all the premises for being so. It is the product of a tiny niche perfume line, brainchild of a Japanese artist (more precisely a sculptor involved in various avantgarde art projects), who at that time was living in Brooklyn, his name being Nobi Shioya. Somehow he managed to attract some of the biggest names in perfumery, willing to create according to his artistic vision,cwithout the constraints of a set budget, purely for the sake of art and play. KEEP ON READING

Cuir d’Ange: The Skin of Angels

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All exclusive lines need a good leather on which to hang their hat. The Chanel Les Esclusifs have their famous Cuir de Russie, the Dior Privee their Cuir Cannage, and now Hermessence by Hermes have theirs: Cuir d’Ange. Cuir d’Ange, meaning Angel Skin, is the tenth, and probably Jean-Claude Ellena’s last contribution to the exclusive Hermessence line by Hermes.

And, wow, it’s a good one.

It’s a delicate, translucent leather consisting of a series of cool grey and blue notes – violet, hawthorn, heliotrope, maybe some unlisted iris – all daubed on as if in a watercolor. There is something cool and hollowed-out about the leather, as if a note of air or water has been floated up through the scent. It feels somehow anisic or salty. I would even go so far as to say vegetal or savory, rather than sweet. This could be the violet, although it smells like no other violet I’ve ever smelled before. Personally, I think violet has a tendency to ride roughshod over every other note in a composition, and therefore, to see such a denatured, subtle, almost salted version of the note here is both a surprise and a pleasure. KEEP ON READING

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