Niche Fragrance Magazine

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Yves Saint Laurent

Funk, Punk and Junk

in Reviews by

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

Scenting the ski lift

in Reviews by

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

My fragrance of 2016 – Salome

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I have often been heard lamenting the demise of many great old perfumes due to IFRA regulations on the ingredients perfumers can now use. My beloved Miss Balmain is no longer produced, so I guard my stash of vintage eau de parfum like Gollum with his precioussss. For a while, I turned my back on modern releases, believing that nobody could match my vintage beauties for sophistication and polish.

I’m hip to modern ideas about a banging vetiver or an overdosed ISO-E Super frag; and I can and do enjoy wearing startling new scents that conjure environments or occasions. I will happily wear an oudh that takes me straight to a soukh where hard-tanned leather is sold, or a fragrance such as Dzing! that somehow puts me straight into a horse’s stable. But truthfully, I like the mystery of composed, complicated perfumes like those of yesteryear. I like not knowing what makes Madame Rochas smell so off-kilter and interesting (strange aldehydes that add a ‘just snuffed candle’ note, according to Luca Turin), or which flowers are in my beloved Miss Balmain (carnations apparently, which explains a lot). For me, a great deal of the perfumer’s art is in creating something unknowable but beautiful that creates an emotion in me, melds with my memories and becomes part of my skin. KEEP ON READING

Fireworks on snow: Chanel No.22

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For Party People, New Year’s Eve is the night to break out the bling, leopard print and high heels and souse yourself like a herring with the most delightful scents you own – and that’s just the gents. If you prefer to stay home and go into hygge-overload, which has a lot of merits too, I still think you should be fragranced to the hilt – what could be more cosy?

Recently I luxuriated in the utterly snuggly Dr Zhivago fur hat, vodka and tobacco of Parfum d’Empire’s Ambre Russe, which has left a warm deliciousness on my coat collar I’m still smelling a week later. This transference and longevity makes it a sneakily clever party fragrance as well as a hygge hero, because everyone you hug hello will smell of you for the next week. I had a huge bearhug from my fragrant Uncle M over the holidays that left my scarf trailing Eau Sauvage for a few days, and every time I caught a whiff I thought of my lovely uncle, who I don’t see often enough. 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

Mon Dieu, Monsieur! A new Frédéric Malle Experience

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Jean Paul Belmondo - Monsieur. a fragrance like composed for him
Jean Paul Belmondo - Monsieur. a fragrance like composed for him
Monsieur. A fragrance like composed for Jean Paul Belmondo himself.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu – this release is a shocker! While I am writing this, I feel like Belmondo in the photo above. I am enjoying the new Frédéric Malle release “Monsieur.” Mon Dieu indeed – this is one of the rare, almost groundbreaking perfume experiences we all are living for (more or less). The first spray leaves you puzzled, enough so that you want to sit down and take a deep breath. This is exactly what “Monsieur” reminds me of: the movie “Breathless” by Jean Luc Goddard from 1960. “Monsieur” is film noir personified – virile elegance, with a touch of masculine drama, heck – this is the utterly French…. Michel (Jean Paul Belmondo) and his love for american idols and the hipness they radiate. This is the irrational, wild passion of an elegant slickster in love with Patricia, a young and vivid American girl. Crisp ties and classic thick suits are popping up in my mind, smelling this fragrance. Oh wait – please let me apologize, I’ve been taken on a flight of fancy. Yes, the fragrance – I guess it’s time to talk a bit about it: KEEP ON READING

Amouage Epic Woman: Made to Make Your Mouth Water

in Reviews by
Science & Technology
Chinese Black Dragon – Images

Anybody here remember Opal Fruits? The tagline was: “Made to make your mouth water” – and sure enough whenever an ad for those tangy, sherbet-y little suckers came on TV, my mouth would begin pumping out saliva. Like Pavlov’s dog.

Well, I just have to glance at my dark green bottle of Amouage Epic Woman for my mouth to start to water. Like pickles, umeboshi (Japanese salted plums) and sourpatch gummies, there is an almost physical pleasure to be had in their wincingly tart flavor. It is a credit to Amouage that Epic Woman contains so many piquant green notes and still manages to be so inviting. It smells like something pickled in brine! And yet sweet! KEEP ON READING

Blask by Humiecki & Graef: Beautiful Weirdo

in Reviews by
Night glow kevin dooley / Foter / CC BY

We fume junkies are all familiar to some degree with “The Classics”. A classic chypre is Guerlain’s Mitsouko, for example, a classic oriental Opium, a classic floral Patou Joy, a classic Fougere Azzaro pour Homme, a classic leather Cuir de Russie, and so on and so forth.  And sometimes it seems as if most modern fragrances seek only to replay, tweak, scramble, and otherwise stay within these pigeonholes of the classic categories simply because it’s safe(ish) and  generally familiar to the public.  When they succeed, like with Jubilation 25 as a new chypre, then it’s glorious. When they don’t, well….we all know examples of abject failures, don’t we? KEEP ON READING

Opium: A Scent Memory

in Reviews/Thoughts by

To me, the vintage Yves Saint Laurent Opium EDT I have smells like every house in which my stepmother has lived. Let me explain.

My stepmother is from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (to give it its full, if unwieldy name). At the age of six, she and her family immigrated to Denmark. She displays traits absorbed from both cultures – a combination of stubborn, folklore-driven beliefs and superstitions, mixed with a Northern pragmatism. Her name is Snezana, which means “Snow White”. (Seriously). She speaks softly, almost like a child, but she rules my father with an iron hand. KEEP ON READING

S-Perfume 100% Love-100% strangely delicious

in Reviews by

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

Amouage Memoir for Woman: Neochypre

in Reviews by

Amouage2

As soon as the warmth of summer begins to fade I tend to return to my good old chypre fragrances and also feel tempted to explore new ones that might encapsulate the vibrancy of autumn. It is the time I bring in the front row of my wardrobe precious scents like Aromatics Elixir from Clinique (almost gone and I`m in desperately need of another one), Dioressence (new version, but stil great), Gem by Van Cleef & Arpels (I have to write about this ahhhmazing one-of-a-kind fruity chypre), Mitsouko (ah yes, la belle Mitsouko) and Yvresse Yves Saint Laurent (is there a better peachy scent out there which feels as sparkling as Champagne bubbles on your tongue?). I belive a chypre (simple, floral or fruity – never mind) has the same capricious temper as the weather in autumn and on a chilly day or evening such a complex fragrance works best by adding a spark of glamour. Like a wine red lipstick on a bare face. KEEP ON READING

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