Thursday, 25 October 2012

A visit to Les Senteurs

I was in London for a meeting today and naturally I managed to get over to Belgravia from Aldgate (it isn't out of the way, really it isn't!) and spend a fleeting twenty minutes sniffing a few perfumes and chatting to the nice people there. There wasn't a huge number of new offerings, but I did come away with samples of Parfumerie Generale's Bois Blond, Francis Kurkdjian's Amyris and a perfume called Terre De L'Encens by Irish perfume house Cloon Keen Atelier. I had never heard of Cloon Keen before, so I'm interested to find out what this one smells like on skin.

While there, I also tried on skin a couple of Bruno Acampora oils, Musc and Nero. Like most oils, these take a while to warm up on skin, but Musc is an intriguing perfume that smells like mushroom to start with, then becomes a swirling melange of herbs, spice and musk, of course. It isn't a clean musk, nor particularly skanky, but it is complex and mysterious. Nero starts off with a woody vetiver/saffron accord that is not miles away in feel to Black Afgano. As it develops it becomes woodier, with patchouli and musk, but again, it continually evolves and smells complex to my nose. Very interesting overall.

Tomorrow I am off to the Isle of Wight with my family for a week's holiday. Depending on what internet access is available, I may try blog a bit on holiday, but am not entirely sure.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lisa Hannigan

I thought I'd take a break from perfume today and post a link to a great You Tube video of Lisa Hannigan performing a trio of songs including the touching 'Little Bird' in the NPR Music Studios. If you've never heard of her, she used to sing with Damien Rice (that isn't him to the left of her by the way). Both are Irish singer-songwriters. If you enjoy intimate studio recordings, I'd recommend you have a look at some of the other Tiny Desk performances; they are very good indeed.

Incidentally, my scent of the day was Amouage Jubilation XXV. It smells as beautiful today as any other time I've worn it. Full bottle worthy.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Teo Cabanel Alahine

The last couple of days in England have been dark, murky and misty affairs. The sort of days where the air smothers you like a blanket, dense and close. In the height of summer that would equate to humidity hell, but on cool and damp autumn days, it is more like a silent embrace before the kiss of death.

I wore Teo Cabanel Alahine this weekend. I wrote about it in June, when I found that I could wear it without any qualms. I mentioned that while it is a cozy ylang-ylang ambery musk, I detected a resinous quality to it that recalls incense, even though the note is not mentioned or commented on in any reviews I've read. When I wore it again yesterday, I had forgotten that review actually, but after the initial opening, I immediately detected that incense-like feeling Alahine evokes for me. Two thoughts crossed my mind - this smells delightful and no way is this a feminine perfume. I honestly find it to be perfectly wearable by a man and the resins on my skin, while sweetish, are dry enough to suit my tastes.

While I enjoyed wearing Alahine in the summer, it was perfect for a cool and dreary autumn day, when I found it comforting and reassuring, without being cloying. I think it is a brilliant perfume.

Friday, 19 October 2012

L'Artisan perfume set

I bought a L'Artisan perfume set yesterday from Fenwick. You may have seen it or something similar in years past. L'Artisan used to do 15ml bottle sizes, back in the day. I personally think, as a perfume fan, that 15ml is possibly the best size. No 200ml crap for me, thank you. 

So, I bought a set of 3 x 15ml bottles of Timbuktu, Fou d'Absinth and Coeur de Vetiver Sacre. There is also a 'feminine' equivalent, but off the top of my head can't remember the set, other than Mure et Musc was included. Considering I paid a 50% off price for the set, I don't think it is bad value for money at all and in fact even at full price it isn't bad at all.

I've written about Timbuktu a couple of times before, and Fou d'Absinth. I like both of them a lot, going so far as to say they are in my top five of L'Artisan fragrances. But what about Coeur de Vetiver Sacre? Looking back at reviews when it first came out in the second half of 2010, the most polite way of putting it is that responses were muted, to say the least. I was particularly struck by a very scathing review by a fairly well-known blogger, whose name shan't be mentioned here. The review essentially said (very edited version by me) that the perfume idea was great, but the execution diabolical, going on to say that the perfumer hadn't really paid any attention to detail, producing an inferior scent, with a poor evaporation curve. Now, I am not a perfume technician by any means, and reviews are subjective, of course, but I felt it was a bit below the belt. Personally, while I don't think that the fragrance is that brilliant, it is certainly wearable and an interesting take on the vetiver theme, with an amber undertone. If I have a criticism, it is that the fragrance is too slight, with minimal sillage and presence, but it smells perfectly decent and I have no qualms wearing it.

I still have a very soft spot for L'Artisan, one of the pioneer niche houses, and no matter what some people think of the line, they have produced some wonderful fragrances over the years. I mean, who can forget Dzing!, Voleur de Roses, Poivre Piquant, Dzonkha, Tea for Two, Passage D'Enfer, Bois Farine, Safran Troublant, Mechant Loup and Patchouli Patch? The list goes on...

 And I am happy to be the proud owner of three very wearable small-size perfumes. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Penhaligon's Juniper Sling

Wearing Juniper Sling today, I couldn't help think that while it smells nice-ish, it seems slightly derivative and reminds me of a number of other fragrances, all veering towards the masculine. 

The notes include cinnamon, orange brandy, angelica, juniper berry, cardamom, leather, black pepper, orris wood, brown sugar, black cherry, vetiver and ambrox. Anyone reading that list of notes would be forgiven thinking it is a fairly rich and complex fragrance. In reality, and I've worn it a number of times, I mostly get some gin/juniper note, a smidgeon of pepper, a bit of a zing/zest from the angelica and then it very quickly slips into a lightly spiced woody base, mostly from vetiver. Forget orange brandy, I can't smell cinnamon, I get perhaps a little cardamom, forget leather, cross out orris wood, no cherry, black or otherwise and brown sugar? Nope, I get more sugar from the Rolling Stones song of the same name.

Perhaps I'm coming across a bit snarky, and as I mentioned, Juniper Sling smells ok, but it doesn't add anything new or special to my perfume experience. There is something about the feel of Juniper Sling that reminds me of Creed's Aventus (not a dead ringer, but there is something about it, particularly in the dry down), another perfume I do not care for much.

The worst thing about Juniper Sling is its price. Penhaligon's sells it for £110, which to my mind, for a perfume that is neither very original nor long-lasting (it is a very subdued and short lived fragrance), is nothing short of daylight robbery. In the current market, £110 for niche is not that much I suppose, but I can still spend about £68 for most bottles of export Serge Lutens, far better value for money, in my opinion.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Sunday in London

Yesterday my wife, daughters and I spent the day in London, which, naturally, involved some visits to perfume stores! The real reason for going up was that my wife was taking part in a 10km run for charity, raising funds for The Stroke Association. One could choose three different distances, 5km, 10km or 15km, each 5km comprised of one lap around the Serpentine, which is a lake in the middle of Hyde Park, central London's largest green space.

My wife ran incredibly well, shaving four minutes off her personal best, completing the 10km in just a few seconds over 53 minutes. I shouldn't brag I suppose (but I will anyway) but she was the 13th woman home and came 60th overall, out of a field of 164 (10km field only).

Anyway, it was a lovely autumn day in the capital, the parks full of vibrant autumn colours, the leaves just starting to turn to shades of yellow, red and gold. In between lunch and supper, and taking the kids to Hamleys, a large (and manic) toy department store in Regent Street, I managed to pay visits to Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty. I've mentioned in the past how pushy the sales people can be in the perfume departments at Harrods, for example, but I'm beginning to think that Selfridges is going the same way. I could hardly go anywhere without a sales associate descending upon me with a sacharine smile, trying to force me to smell something. I just wanted to be left alone in peace to browse and sniff at my own leisure. I didn't spot a whole lot of new stuff at Selfridges, but did try Guerlain's Rose Barbare for the first time. I don't know where the Barbare comes from, because it certainly is not an edgy fragrance, but it does smell nice. Having smelt Rose Nacree du Desert not so long ago, I think the two have a similar, if not identical rose note, but they aren't the same fragrance, obviously. I also tried Armani Prive Bois de Encens again. Sigh. If I could sever a limb to get a bottle of this, I might be tempted... What a beautiful incense fragrance.

Moving on to John Lewis, I have a voucher to spend there, and I was trying to find a perfume to buy. I tried Commes des Garcons 2 Man and Diptyque's Volutes, but I am not convinced that I like either enough to buy a full bottle. 2 Man is nice, but it reminded me a lot of Gucci Pour Homme and I already own a bottle of that. Volutes is decent, but I have my eye on a number of more interesting tobacco fragrances, albeit at a much higher price, sadly. I also tried the new leather limited editions of the Mugler classics, Alien, Amen and Angel. I don't know what I am missing, but to me they all smell just like the original. Perhaps my nose is not as good as others but hand on heart I could not detect a molecule of leather in any of them. I don't know what the fuss is about, frankly.

Finally, I went to one of my favourite London stores, Liberty. Some people moan that Liberty staff are cool and aloof, but praises be, they leave you to your own devices! Just what I like, grumpy grouch that I am. I sniffed a lot of stuff at Liberty, but was most taken by Commes des Garcons Luxe Patchouli. Of course, typically, the perfume I loved the most was also staggeringly expensive at £155 for 45ml of juice! I thought it was fantastic, but no way am I paying that sort of price for a perfume.

So ended our day in London and I must say, while I loved sniffing all the perfumes, I still came away thinking that if I had the money, Bois de Encens would have been my purchase of the day.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

On the subject of spam, part 2

Following my recent post on a classic spam comment, I received another one today which I think takes the cake, produced below verbatim, sans links:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "YSL M7 and Jazz reincarnated":

Every weekend i used to pay a visit this site, for the reason that i want enjoyment, since this this website
conations in fact pleasant funny information too.
Feel free to visit my homepage - {Online Reputation Management 

My dear spam friend, I think your online reputation is shot, never mind your management...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Cartier Declaration d'un Soir

Call me a grouch, because I don't really see what is so fantastic about the new Declaration flanker, d'un Soir. It doesn't smell bad by any means, but I don't personally think it bears much resemblance to the original. To my mind, particularly in the dry down, it reminds me far more of Roadster, without mint, and I detect a lot of musk.

Those of you who've read my blog for a while will recall that I am a big fan of the original Declaration and I still much prefer it. As I said, d'un Soir is wearable, but I don't really see its point.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Joop Homme revisited

Some of you may recall that I wrote about Joop Homme Wild just a few days ago. I described how sweet and forceful I found it, and also mentioned the original Joop Homme. Following that post I was curious to try Joop Homme again, to see how how it compared to what I remember it being like. I sprayed Joop Homme on one wrist and Joop Homme Wild on the other. The interesting thing is that side by side it is even more apparent how fruity, sweet and strong Homme Wild really is. I thought the original was strong and sweet, but by comparison it is actually much dryer and more complex. I was very interested to see that Joop Homme was created by Michel Almairac, a very talented perfumer who also created L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses, Bottega Veneta and the updated Ivoire, and has worked in tandem with Dominique Ropion. The notes include bergamot, cinnamon, orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle. sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, tonka, musk and vanilla. 

Released in 1989, Joop Homme has a bit of a retro feel now, but not in a bad way. Despite the notes, it is not floral to my nose, but it could be that the heavy bass notes conceal the floral heart. To my nose it smells like tobacco, yet the accord is not listed - perhaps it is the combination of the patchouli, amber, musk and vanilla that create this impression.

Joop Homme is strong, and lasts all day, but I have to admit that I quite like it. Joop Homme Wild on the other hand, is a strong, sticky mess of sweet and fruity notes that overpower and make me feel quite sick until the base is reached, when it becomes a lot better. What is it with fruity notes these days?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

On the subject of spam...

Folllowing Meg from Parfumieren's couple of very amusing (yet in a way sad) posts on spam comments on her blog, I thought I would reproduce verbatim a spam comment I received this week:

"whoаh this blοg is fantaѕtiс i loѵe reading your 
posts. Keeρ uρ the gоod work! You recognizе, lots of рeople are ѕеaгching round 
for thіs іnfоrmаtiοn,
you соuld aid them gгeаtly.
Also visit my webpage : brand name laptops" (link removed - but it was laptopsspecial)

Some of the spam posts I receive are actually quite clever, and rather devious in how they verge almost on the convincing, but this is is just pants - poor effort Mr or Mrs brand name laptops! Incidentally, if you are reading this post, dear spammer, please buzz off and annoy someone else in future. Thank you.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Scent of the day - Penhaligon's Endymion

My feeling is that Penhaligon's has made a concerted effort to modernise and bring themselves out of British Victoriana and into the 21st century over the last three years or so. Hiring Bertrand Duchafour was probably a good step, and some of the releases of recent years have been quite daring or quirky, including Amaranthine, Sartorial and to a lesser extent, Orange Blossom and Juniper Sling.

Endymion is one of the older fragrances, but to my nose does not really smelly fusty. I often read comments on blogs that refer to British Reserve, Britishness, fustiness and other terms, that while not quite derogatory, are a bit nose-sniff-in-the-air, as if British people are not daring, but perhaps rather staid and boring. Well, I don't agree with that. Perfume aside, Britain has produced some of the greatest innovators the world has known. Anyway, I digress.

Back to Endymion, the notes include bergamot, mandarin, lavender, sage, geranium, coffee absolute, vetiver, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, musk, leather, sandalwood, incense, frankincense and myrrh. What a list of notes, as long as my arm. In reality, Endymion is by no means a basic, simple perfume, but the notes as listed do not manifest themselves quite as complicatedly either. Endymion is quite sweet to start, and a bit spicy. I'd say that the opening is the most generic part of it, following which it becomes lightly herbal, with a hint of leather and just a whiff of incense to carry it through to the dry down. I think it is a very nice fragrance and not really that masculine. I think the notes blend together very well, so it is hard to say that I can detect that many specific notes. The coffee note is subtle, but if you look closely it is there, pairing well with the resinous incense notes.

Penhaligon's perfumes have a reputation for poor longevity, but Endymion lasts fairly well. It isn't a strong perfume by any means though.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Joop Homme Wild

I came across Joop Homme Wild today for the first time, at my local Boots Chemist. While I was never a massive fan of the original Joop (or the myriad permutations that have since followed) I did think it was different to most of the other mainstream stuff out there for men, and I still think so.

Joop Homme Wild (the advertisers tell us): some angel is waiting to discover your bad side, and if this is the case (you lucky and brave man you) let the perfume notes of pink pepper (for a vibrating, spicy freshness - since when does pepper vibrate people?), rum absolute (for an addictive and sulferous note - seriously folks, since when does smelling like rotten eggs turn on the ladies, or does the word wild mean a vibrating fart in this case?) and woody blonde tobacco (for a twisted masculine dry down - what does twisted mean exactly in this context?) trigger instant seduction. Amazing. I can only guess that the advert presumes this man, when he isn't letting off twisted, vibrating sulferous farts, is hoping to instantly seduce girls, poor things.

Moving onto the actual fragrance, I cannot smell pink pepper in the opening, unless the opening is so fleeting the notes burn off before I can hold paper strip and wrist to my nose. I am instantly met with a sickly sweet puff of notes, which make me think fruitchouli for men, yet I am guessing this is the rum absolute. I've smelt rum done a lot better in perfume, for example in Lubin's Idole. I've drunk a fair bit of rum and while it is often a sweet drink, it is not cloyingly sweet. To be fair, Wild gets better as time passes. The tobacco notes do come in to balance the sweetness a bit, but as with the original Joop, it is a sweet concoction throughout. The tobacco doesn't smell blonde to me though. It is rich and sweet and heady, which to my mind is more like pipe tobacco than blonde. I have to say though, that after about three hours, Wild is rather wearable, but it is a pity it has to be so sweet, ponderous and bluntly forceful in the top and heart notes.


Related Posts with Thumbnails