Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cinema Scent: Detroit (dir. Kathryn Bigelow; 2017)


There had to be at least one mention of it. About two-thirds of the way through Kathryn Bigelow’s gut-punching Detroit - an account of the horrific events which took place at the Algiers Motel in 1967 - the white police officer Krauss (memorably played by Will Poulter in an inspired bit of casting) asks Hannah Murray's Julie how she can stand to mix with black men. Doesn't she find the smell of their Afro Sheen unbearable? It’s a startling mention of scent in a film dealing with a subject which often sees smell descriptions hurled as insults: racism. In fact, so frequently is body odour used as a marker of separation between acrimonious groups of humans, it’s surprising that there aren't more references to it in Detroit.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Persolaise Review: Beach Hut Man from Amouage (Elise Benat; 2017)


I think it's safe to assume that Christopher Chong has a sense of fun. In order to preserve the seriousness of Amouage’s signature range, the brand’s Creative Director has avoided populating it with any fragrances that could be seen as lightweight. Nevertheless, he possesses an understandable desire to explore ‘easier’ olfactory codes, so in recent years, he's given plenty of attention to his Midnight Flower collection, which has seen him recruiting the likes of such un-Amouage characters as lilacs and freesias. The latest entry in this range is Beach Hut Man (I'd like to have been at the marketing meeting when that name was first mooted) and sure enough, it is as carefree and exuberant as some of the main Amouage fragrances are dignified.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cinema Scent: God's Own Country (dir. Francis Lee; 2017)


It's been a while since I watched a film quite as pungent as this one: from the moment it begins, Francis Lee's moving and well-observed God's Own Country reeks of the many smells of its environment. In almost every frame, someone's either vomiting or urinating or licking a scab or thrashing around in mud (a re-working of the Women In Love wrestling scene?) or having sex. In fact, at one point - which foreshadows a poignant moment towards the end - a ewe is persuaded to suckle a lamb after it's clothed in the wool of her dead baby. She gives it a sniff and then allows it to approach.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Persolaise In Harper's Bazaar India


It is with massive excitement that I'd like to share this piece of news with you: the latest edition of none other than Harper's Bazaar India features an article by yours truly on the subject of strange perfumes. I haven't seen the issue yet - apparently, a copy is making its way to me - but I thought I'd give any India-based readers a heads-up straight away so that you can all rush out to your nearest newsstand. Mind you, it's very likely that the magazine is also available outside India; I shall certainly look out for it the next time I'm in London.

UPDATE: The magazine is also available in digital format... which means you can buy it wherever you are!

Persolaise

Friday, September 8, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2017 [part 2]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Orange Leaf from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2017)*
Cologne-like presentation of a vivid citrus leaf on a smouldering bark of wood. Displays typical Harris clarity.

Bat from Zoologist (Ellen Covey; 2015)***
Exactly like stepping inside damp, dank, deadly dungeon. Musty. Fetid. Mouldy. Disturbing. Quite extraordinary. But wearable?

Flower Eau De Lumiere from Kenzo (Alberto Morillas & Amandine Clerc-Marie; 2017)*
Fascinating flanker, ditching steamed musks in favour of sensual blossoms. Definite red tint to this lumiere.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cinema Scent: Under The Shadow (dir. Babak Anvari; 2016)


Watching Babak Anvari’s superb Under The Shadow reminded me that, more often than not, the way film-makers choose to depict smell is by showing their characters’ reactions to it. Eyes lift with pleasure. Faces crinkle with incomprehension. Bodies double up with disgust. And the reason Anvari prompted this thought is that, unless my memory fails me, I don't think there’s a single moment in his movie when the actors are confronted by the olfactory aspect of their world. As Under The Shadow, in many ways, slots into the horror genre - which invariably resorts to visceral imagery - its apparent avoidance of odour adds to its originality.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 5 On YouTube


Episode 5 of my Facebook Live Love At First Scent series - complete with its annoying technical issue - is now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I covered

Lui from Guerlain
Naja from Vero Profumo
Elements Of Man: Integrity from Ermenegildo Zegna
Garden Roses from Burberry
Beach Hut Man from Amouage

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), so please head over there if you'd like to see the interaction which took place during the live stream.

Persolaise 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Trouble With Perfume Adverts - Persolaise In Issue 3 of Tauer Mag

image: Tauer Perfumes

I feel very fortunate to be able to say that latest edition of Tauer Mag features another piece by yours truly, this time on the far-too-vast-for-one-article subject of perfume commercials. The magazine is available only in print, so if you'd like to order it, please click here.

A quick reminder that - family commitments permitting - I'm still hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. If I need to cancel, I'll let you know as soon as possible.

Persolaise  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Minimalist Mission - Persolaise On Feelunique + The Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Facebook Live

image: Feelunique

A whisper of minimalism makes its way into my latest piece for Feelunique, featuring scents for those times when you just need to tone things down a tiny bit. Please click here to read it.

In other news... I'm hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. However, I'm striking a slightly tentative note because there's a chance I might be needed to help out a family member with a hospital appointment during that time. (There it goes again: everyday life interfering with perfume stuff!) If I can't go ahead with the broadcast then, of course, I'll let you know straight away. But fingers crossed, all will be well.

Persolaise

Friday, August 18, 2017

Persolaise Review: Histoire D'Orangers from L'Artisan Parfumeur (Marie Salamagne; 2017)


Perfume names are a constant source of puzzlement to me. More of than not, it's because so many of them are downright awful (Girl Of Now?!!) but sometimes, the cause of my incomprehension is that they're ill-chosen in relation to the other members of a brand’s portfolio. Take Histoire D’Orangers, for instance. Surely, L’Artisan Parfumeur have already told an ‘orange tree story’ - if we're to take the name literally - in their superb Séville À L’Aube by Bertrand Duchaufour. Indeed, that perfume was the very definition of a scented tale, with a lucid narrative and a clear sense of development, as devised by Denyse Beaulieu, who worked with Duchaufour on the composition. This new release is certainly focussed on an orange tree - indeed, its key note is the plant’s intoxicating blossom - but it doesn't operate like a story at all, preferring instead to present a single, painstakingly detailed snapshot.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Persolaise Review: Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua from Tom Ford (2017)


I guess it's fair to assume that Tom Ford found gold at the bottom of his pool of water: last year’s release of an Acqua version of Neroli Portofino must have been successful, because 2014’s Mandarino Di Amalfi has just been given the same treatment. And if the move turns out to be equally lucrative for Mr Ford, you won't catch me complaining, because it leaves all of the rest of us winners too. Simply put, Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua is one of this year’s best ‘summer colognes’. I enjoyed the syrupy citruses of the original version, but only up to the point when they were shoved aside by the somewhat more prosaic wood notes. However, this Acqua iteration dispenses with the woods and opts for a more overtly floral accompaniment to the eponymous fruit, which in this case, is even lighter, brighter and more mouth-watering. Like a wish for summer to last all year long, the fragrance freezes time, so that it is forever hovering somewhere between that second cocktail and a limb-loosening stroll along the beach. Or maybe it's a diver, half-way between a precipice and the pristine surface of the ocean, just on the verge of finding that gleaming cache of gold. Sparkling work.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Tom Ford in 2017]

Persolaise

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cinema Scent: The Graduate (dir. Mike Nichols; 1967)


What's the smell of disillusionment? According to Mike Nichols’ The Graduate - currently enjoying a 50th anniversary, big-screen re-release - it’s cigarette smoke and whisky on ice. The film’s most disillusioned character - the implacable Mrs Robinson, apparently crushed by years of self-directed anger - is almost always surrounded by a tobacco haze or holding a half-empty glass. In fact, in many ways, she is the movie’s most scented feature, which is entirely appropriate, given her placement within the realms of the sensual. She’s also contrasted with her seemingly scent-free daughter, Elaine: well-scrubbed, wholesome and channelling Liz Claiborne aesthetics long before they became popular. But is that a Dior bottle we see on Elaine's dressing table? The camera doesn't let us get a close enough look, although it's tempting to think it might be the weightless Eau Fraîche.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2017 [part 1]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Pelargonium from Aedes De Venustas (Nathalie Feisthauer; 2017)*
A geranium carved out of pine, sprinkled with lemon and infused with white incense. Elegant and decorous.

Oud Essentiel from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2017)*
Yes, another rosy-leathery-woody oud. But it's well done. And it gets the thumbs up from the oud-loving Madame P.

Hyacinth & A Mechanic from Tauerville (Andy Tauer; 2016)**
As it says, bold, diffusive hyacinth contrasted with greasy overalls and a leather belt. Total delight to wear.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Fallen Linguist: An Interview With Nick Steward Of Gallivant


"I like places with a bit of grit and a bit of underbelly," says Nick Steward. "Real places."

His words may seem a touch incongruous in the context of tea and canelé at Piccadilly's opulent Maison Assouline, yet for some reason, they ring true. Perhaps it's to do with his unostentatious appearance: inquisitive smile over a slender, Breton-stripe-wearing frame. Or maybe it's his tone: measured, reflective, gentle on the consonants. But whatever the cause, when the 40-something, London-based, self-confessed product-obsessive presents his new fragrance brand, Gallivant, it's difficult not to be won over by the manner in which he describes it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More Updates On The London Perfume Shopping Guide

image: Jovoy

Just in case some of you aren't aware - or you need a reminder - I ought to mention that one of this site's most popular posts is my guide to London's perfume shopping scene. If you're planning on visiting the city this summer, you should find that almost all the info in the guide is correct, as I update it quite regularly. 

One of the latest additions to my listing is the new Jovoy boutique on Conduit Street (above) where you'll find Neela Vermeire Creations, Aedes De Venustas and Evody, amongst many others. Well worth checking out.

To read the guide, please click here.

Happy shopping!

Persolaise

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Persolaise Review: Concrete from Comme Des Garçons (2017)


Consider me won over. When I first began to explore Comme Des Garçons’ new Concrete - housed in a suitably industrial-looking, scratch-prone version of the familiar pebble bottle - I couldn't help feeling a tiny bit let down. Its opening excited me: a grey, humid, liquid-splattered-on-powder evocation of the ubiquitous building material. And its sweet facet provided a welcome contrast, like berries squashed against granite. But then it all seemed to turn rather pedestrian. Was the promising start leading to nothing more than a tame vanilla? Was the sandalwood mentioned in the press notes going to appear as a mere suggestion of synthetic dryness? Was the triumph of last year’s Blackpepper not to be repeated?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Keep It In The Family - Persolaise On Feelunique


image: Feelunique

For my latest Feelunique article, I've presented a very simple guide to some of the main fragrance families (ie chypre, oriental, leather et al). If you'd like to read it - and to see which scent recommendations I've made for each of the families - please click here.


Persolaise

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