Ginsberg is God (and the fragrance is pretty good too).

GinsbergodIn 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

Reiss triumph with new fragrance duo

BLACK_OUDH4When I first heard that Reiss were launching two signature fragrances I must admit I was pretty non-plussed. When I heard that award-winning perfumer Azzi Glasser was creating them, though, I suddenly sat up and took notice. I love Azzi – one of the most personable, down-to-earth people in the fragrance industry – and I love what she does with her creations. High street or high fashion they’re always wearable without ever being boring, there’s a meticulous attention to detail and she always throws in a surprise or two.

Two years in the making the new fragrances, Black Oudh For Men and Grey Flower For Women launch next month in Reiss stores nationwide. The men’s fragrance – dark, warm and intense, with laurel leaf, black oudh, black musk and amber – is superb in a woody, smoky, autumnal night kind of way but Grey Flower is even better.

GREY_FLOWER4Though technically aimed at women, this latter fragrance is just as deep and rich and earthy as Black Oudh. A mix of pimento berry, patchouli, frankincense, amber and sequoia wood, it’s actually one of the best fragrances I’ve smelt all year.

Intoxicating, with a faintly medicinal, warm edge it’s fantastically unconventional for a women’s fragrance (Glasser could have made something predictably floral but didn’t) and works brilliantly for men so I suspect you’ll be spoilt for choice when you try them at the counter.

To their absolute credit, Reiss didn’t take the easy option with these fragrances.  They could have gone with something bland, focus-groupey and predictable but instead they’ve gone out on a limb with fragrances that are bold, punchy and uncompromising. What’s more, both scents have that elusive “neck nuzzle” quality. “We wanted to create something with a bespoke, artisan and luxurious in feel,” says Glasser.  “David (Reiss, founder and MD of the company) wanted people to be shocked and surprised by the fragrances. He wanted something sexy but in the Reiss style and with the Reiss attention to detail.” Thanks to Glasser’s artistry, that’s exactly what he got.

Reiss Black Oudh For Men and Reiss Grey Flower For Women cost £49 for 50ml eau de parfum. Available from September. For more info go to