Good news for fans of Chanel’s best selling Bleu de Chanel fragrance: at the end of this month you’ll also be able to buy an eau de parfum version (in both 50ml and 100ml sizes) as well as this rather fabulous palm-sized soap. The latter is a limited edition release, though, so don’t let it, er, slip through your fingers.
In the past year or so I’ve had the great fortune to attend not one but two Jasmine training workshops organised by The Fragrance Foundation. Designed for journalists and writers interested in fragrance they’re always a voyage of discovery, regardless of how much or how little you know about aldehydes, absolutes or accords. On each occasion proceedings have been conducted by the very talented Perfume Designer Azzi Glasser – a woman who has a knack of making even the most bewildering aspects of the fragrance world accessible to all.
Now, as passionate about perfume as Azzi is, she is also evangelical about pushing journalists like myself to approach fragrance writing in original and unexpected ways rather than simply regurgitating press releases (or blindly believing what those press releases say). Wherever possible she encourages out-of-the-box thinking and challenges writers to think in terms of feelings, sensations and mental images rather than simply reeling off a list of top, middle and base notes – a crime, I must admit, that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past.
And so, in honour of that thinking, my review of her latest creation for Bella Freud, Ginsberg is God uses a collage of images and quotes (including one from Ginsberg’s most famous work Howl) to give you a flavour of my emotional response to it. I hope that you a gist of what I’m saying with this mood board but in case you still prefer a straight-forward review let’s just say it’s five star stuff and is one of my favourite fragrances this year.
Ginsberg is God is available now from Harvey Nichols.
It’s a curious fact that in the last few years some of my favourite commercial fragrances have come, not from well-known fragrance or fashion houses, but from (of all things) car manufacturers. I’m a big fan, for instance, of the Bentley fragrances – especially Intense and Absolute – and am constantly impressed by how good the Ferrari fragrances are. Their latest offering, Vetiver Essence, doesn’t launch until October but make a mental note of it now.
I’m a huge fan of vetiver fragrances (Roja Parfums’ Vetiver Extrait and Creed’s Original Vetiver being two of my favourites) but this vetiver is quite different, throwing in tonka bean, cardamon and coffee beans to give things a warm, edible edge and featuring hazelwood – something I’ve not come across before.
Anyway, the result is a fragrance that’s not remotely dominated by its key note like some vetivers and one that’s warm, sensual and devoid of any spiky edges. If I have one criticism it’s that it could do better on the longevity front but otherwise it’s an absolutely perfect fragrance for autumn.
Vetiver Essence is available exclusively from Harrods, from October, priced £79 for 100ml eau de parfum.
The other day I happened to mention on Twitter that I was wearing Aesop’s Deodorant and a follower asked whether I’d blogged about it, presumably because he wanted a few more details. I hadn’t but, since I like to please, I thought I’d better. So…
I absolutely love this product. It contains no less than eleven essentials oils (including lavender, vetiver and clove) that have been chosen, not just for their great smell, but for their ability to deter micobial activity too. Helpfully, it also contains zinc ricinoleate – a naturally occurring fatty acid that’s a pretty effective odour neautralizer.
The big question, of course, given that this is a ‘natural’ deodorant, is: does it work? Well, actually it does, yes. Ok, so if you’re traipsing around town all day in scorching weather or are preparing for a stressful meeting and oozing ‘emotional sweat’ (that stuff that’s really pungent) you might want to opt for an antiperspirant but if you’re working from home, kicking back of a weekend or just want to smell good in bed this deo is perfect. Recommended.
For more info go to aesop.com
It doesn’t launch until September but since I’m getting old (and may well have forgotten I had a sneak preview of it by then) I thought I might as well give you the heads up on the brand new Aesop fragrance, Marrakech Intense, right now. Created by French perfumer Barnabé Fillion – a man who’s collaborated with the likes of Le Labo and who was the nose behind Paul Smith’s rather underrated Portrait For Men fragrance, it’s a rather clever “reinterpretation” of Aesop’s existing Marrakech fragrance.
Fillion (pictured) was brought in to give it a bit more oomph, reassembling it in the same way a musical track might be remixed in order to breathe new life into it and give it new meaning. Thus, Marrakech Intense is muskier and sexier than its predecessor and Fillion has fiddled with the top and middle of the fragrance, too, adding neroli, bergamot, rose and jasmine.
The distinctive clove, cardamon and sandalwood of the original is still there, but the Frenchman has added complexity and depth to Marrakech – making it much more nuanced – and in doing so he’s taken it from being a quirky apothecary scent and pushed it in the direction of a boutique fragrance with bags of character. Impressive.
Aesop Marrakech Intense will be available from September as a 50ml eau de toilette and a 10ml parfum roll-on.
I would very much like to tell you that Clive Christian‘s superb new fragrance ‘L’ was created just for me (it does bear my initial after all) and in my deluded mind it absolutely was. Alas, it turns out that the ‘L’ in question stands not for Lee but for Love.
Part of the ‘L’ private collection (there’s a female fragrance too) ‘L’ For Men is a sweet, sensual and – above all else – a ferociously woody scent. It features a fairly heady combination of grapefruit, vetiver and rose with a touch of smoky oud wood and a slightly pornographic musky base but the overriding smell is one of intensely woody pencil shavings (courtesy of atlas cedar). It’s sexy without being licentious, complex without being pretentious and, for men who like their fragrances to have stamina, has the kind of tenacity on the skin that means it can easily survive a hot bath or shower. Impressive stuff.
Available exclusively from Harrods from August
For lots of reasons this week as been a trying one. On more than one occasion I’ve been at the end of my tether and as a result my sleep has suffered horribly. Thank heavens, then, for the arrival of these two brand new products from L’Occinane in my postbag. Part of the company’s fantastic new Aromachology range, which launches in August, both the Relaxing Pillow Mist and Relaxing Perfumed Sachet have been essential bedtime companions this week – and a great help they’ve been too. Both smell amazing (thanks to lavender, sweet orange and rosemary) and, coupled with the Valerian tea I’ve been necking (alas, valium wasn’t available), they’ve just about managed to save my sanity. So if you’re craving a decent night’s sleep why not put these near your pillow!
Think of Acqua di Parma and you tend to think of light, fresh Mediterranean fragrances bursting with energy and packed with more citrus fruits than your average bottle of orange squash. And you’d be right of course. But in the last few years the company have also been exploring a much darker and more sensual side. Their new fragrance Colonia Leather is a perfect example of this and is as warm and sexy as the original Colonia fragrance is light and summery.
The leather accord is true and authentic smelling and there’s a touch of smoky oud in there too but not enough to overpower the fragrance and you detect it most three or four hours after applying. Other notes include orange, lemon, raspberry thyme and rose but as you might expect it’s the leather that dominates here.
The acid test of any fragrance, of course, is whether other people rate it when they smell it on you. So as a test I wore Colonia Leather the other night and a friend I was meeting instantly commented: “Wow! What are you wearing? You smell amazing!” Somehow, I think I’ll be wearing this sexy little number again.
Now let me get this out of the way first: I love Czech & Speake. When I was a teenager back in the Eighties, I eyed their products (and especially their No.88 fragrance) with a desire that bordered on unrestrained lust. I still adore No.88 and can heartily recommend it if you like woody, floral, barbershoppy fragrances that pack a punch and have serious longevity on the skin.
But anyway, enough about that fragrance and on to their latest one, Spanish Cedar. Warm, woody, fruity, spicy and smoky it’s a great evening fragrance but, in truth, not nearly as distinctive as some other C&S fragrances and certainly nowhere near as interesting as No.88. To me the cedar is slightly lost amongst the sweetness of the plum and blackberry notes and its longevity could be better but if you like your scents warm and spicy it’s certainly worth investigating.
Last night I had the privilege of attending the annual Fragrance Foundation Awards, widely regarded to be the Oscars of the fragrance world. In terms of men’s fragrance the night definitely belonged to Paco Rabanne’s Invictus which scooped, not one, but two awards – for Best New Men’s Fragrance and also the Men’s Health Reader’s Choice Award.
In fact, the corks must be popping all over the place at Paco HQ this morning since they picked up a third gong for 1 Million Intense which won the People’s Choice For Men Award. Without doubt Paco is the brand to catch at the moment when it comes to men’s fragrance. Other companies jealously eye up the success of their fragrances in the way a cat eyes up a mouse and the coherence of the Invictus marketing campaign was stunning, with everything from the eye-catching bottle, witty adverts, choice of face and Invictus Award initiative all coming together like one giant, unstoppable commercial glacier, pushing aside everything else in its path. Impressive.