Friday, 1 October 2010

Taking stock and an autumn roundup

So, autumn has truly arrived in the muddy isle (aka the United Kingdom), true to form as October 1st dawned, blustery with near-torrential rain. Autumn can be a lovely time, as we all know. Who isn't moved by a bright, crystalline-fresh morning, leaves turning golden, the smell of woodsmoke redolent in the air? Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is the aforementioned weather, and grey, dull and wet days. Yet despite this I always find that come autumn I really yearn to wear perfume. The cooler weather calls for fragrances with more oomph, and a bit of comfort too. Gone are the fresh citrus colognes, or the sheer woody florals. In their place comes tobacco, amber, vanilla, spice and sweeter woods, which might have been cloying a couple of months ago. And maybe it's just me, but autumn releases seem so much more interesting than a lot of the dreck that comes out in the warmer months, destined to crowd-please. 

Some of you who read my blog more regularly might recall a somewhat melancholy and self-pitying post at the start of August when I mentioned how busy I had been at work, with not enough time to take stock of life and enjoy things that matter most to me, including wearing perfume of course. Two months on and I feel a lot better. Work is still busy, finances are still stretched, but for some reason I feel calmer and more in control. Hopefully this is not just delusion, but reality! I was trying to think back on perfumes I've tried over the summer and early autumn, and what I enjoyed, and didn't. 

There's been very little in mainstream that I've enjoyed. It's hard to keep up with all the celebrity releases anyway. I tried Serge Luten's Bas de Soie, and felt that while it was a sort-of return to form, it isn't totally me. One perfume that did impress me, surprisingly, was Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male Terrible. The original Le Male was groundbreaking, and still as unique today as it was a decade or more ago. But it was so over-worn that it became cliched, probably a bit like Polo was in the US in the eighties, perhaps. Terrible is in the same vein as Le Male, but has some skankiness in it, with a bit of smoke and incense (at least to my nose). It is rather compelling and I'd urge you to approach it with a fresh and open mind - it might surprise you. I also tried Gucci Guilty the other day, and while not exactly a revelation, it is a rather well done floriental, better than a lot of similar releases over the last few years.

Moving onto niche, most of what I've tried has been older stuff that I haven't got round to before. I did try Andy Tauer's Orange Star, which I really enjoyed. The big rave was L'artisan's Nuit de Tubereuse. I've tried it once but it's hard to form a strong opinion. I liked that it wasn't an obvious, big, screechy tuberose, but  I couldn't quite get my head around it. I tried Mona di Orio's Cuir, which was a leather slap upside the head. Not for the faint-hearted. I also tried Amouage's Library fragrance Opus 2, labelled a fougere but not to me. It's great by the way. I haven't tried 1 and 3.

What about imminent releases (or just-released)? Well, I'm looking forward to trying the new Amouage Memoir Man and Woman. I know some people lament how many perfumes Amouage churns out these days, but they can do little wrong for me. I'm also curious to try the Vero  Profumo eau de parfumes (the extraits are way too expensive for me).

Going off topic a little, one sample I ordered recently that I wasn't expecting to like for some reason, but blew me away, is Costamor's Tabacca. It's a gorgeous tobacco fragrance, not too sweet, fairly sedate, but extremely well executed. And what disappointed me the most? I think it might be Heeley's Sel Marin. I was expecting something a bit like Sel de Vetiver, I guess because of the 'sel' in both titles. In the end Sel Marin smells like Hermes' Un Jardin apres la mousson, which is not my favourite. It's a bit brackish and totally not what I hoped it would be.

To end, what I really can't wait for is the annual release of the Serge Lutens non-export Paris exclusive, set to come out towards the end of this year. This year it is Cuir Mauresque. I've only ever smelled this one as a wax sample, which is not the same thing of course, but it was excellent.


  1. Thanks for that handy little roundup, Michael. I've yet to try Bas De Soie, but you may have noticed that I recently put up a review of Vero Profumo's new EDPs. I've also got a post on Memoir in the pipeline.

    As for the autumn, I agree that there's a lot to love about the season, apart from the rain... and it isn't even the rain per se that irritates me, but its consequences: you can't leave the house without tons of paraphernalia, you can't sit outside to have a coffee etc etc. Still, it's a good excuse to have lots of comforting incense burning in the house during the evenings!

  2. Thanks Persolaise. I did read your review of the Vero Profumos, which in conjunction with seeing them advertised on Luckyscent has reminded me to give them a go. These days I'm also quite excited by what is coming out of the US by small artisan outfits, such as Sonomo Scent Studio, DSH and Neil Morris, to name a few. I wish there was a similar movement in the UK (perhaps there is and I;m just not aware of it).



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