Friday, 23 February 2018

"Your Claims Have To Be Honest" - An Interview With Rodrigo Flores-Roux


With no fewer than 12 Fragrance Foundation Awards under his belt - the first one being for Clinique's Happy - Rodrigo Flores-Roux is unquestionably one of the most successful and acclaimed perfumers working today. He's composed scents for countless high street names. He's used his talents in the somewhat more adventurous world of independent perfumery. And he holds a senior position at the fragrance production company he's called home for many years: Givaudan. In other words, there isn't much he hasn't achieved.

Since the start of the century, he's become associated with the fragrance division of the John Varvatos fashion brand - he has put together all of its scents - and it was in this capacity that he flew into London to discuss his latest piece of work, Artisan Pure. Like all the other entries in the Artisan range, it emphasises the lighter, more citrus-based elements of its construction, so I started my conversation with Flores-Roux by asking how Pure differs from the rest of the collection.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux: This is the fourth chapter of the Artisan story. We worked around the colour white, the texture of cotton, the texture of linen. Sandblasted glass. Glass that had been eroded by the sea and the sand. That kind of thing. And purity. The starting point was precisely an image that I have from my adolescence. We were invited somewhere by a colleague of my Dad. He was part of this very aristocratic family from Veracruz, from the coast of the Gulf Of Mexico. And that area is a very important part of coffee cultivation. We went to their hacienda, which is a coffee plantation. A very elegant, old, beautiful place. And I have a dear memory from there. The room that I was staying in with my brother overlooked a little courtyard which had potted citrus trees. Outside were the groves of coffee trees. The flower of the coffee tree is extremely fragrant. And the fields were in full bloom. So it was just like a cascade of perfume coming into the bedroom. From one side, the scent of the citrus trees, and then this very perfumed atmosphere of the coffee tree blossom.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: October to December 2017 [part 1]


It's mini time again: another round-up of my reviews from Twitter and Instagram. To read the others in the series, please click here.

La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2017)*
Another well-written chapter in the little black dress story, this time topping the rosy cherry with a hint of dry, bitter leather.

Olim from Trudon (Lyn Harris; 2017)*
Before fougères became rough and uncouth, they smelt a little bit like this. Delicate anisic spices and lavender. Almost creamy benzoin and myrrh base. The power of lowering one’s voice.

Mortel from Trudon (Yann Vasnier: 2017)*
Incense has the ability to be the most enveloping, the most meditative of perfumery notes. But sometimes it can be rendered chilly and reedy. Mortel falls into latter camp. Strange, geranium-like brightness doesn’t help.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 12 On YouTube


The 12th episode of Love At First Scent was broadcast on Facebook Live on Sunday and you can now catch it on YouTube. As always, you can watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

Feather Supreme from Jusbox (at the start of the video)
Yael from Sammarco (at the 15:00 minute mark)
Russian Tea from Masque Milano (at the 25:00 minute mark)
The Tycoon from St Giles (at the 54:00 minute mark)
Amsterdam from Gallivant (at the 1:02:00 minute mark)
and my classic choice was
Poison esprit de parfum from Christian Dior (at the 37:30 minute mark)

There were also brief mentions of:
Declaration parfum from Cartier
The Writer from St Giles
The Actress from St Giles

The original video is still on Facebook. Click here to watch it.

Persolaise

Friday, 9 February 2018

Persolaise Review: Dryad from Papillon (Liz Moores; 2017)


It’s so wonderful to behold a perfumer maturing right under your nose. With her debut trio, Papillon’s Liz Moores proved that hers is a considerable talent, even though at least two of her compositions justifiably attracted the view that independent perfumery’s rough-edged statements can be overly reactionary. But then there was Angélique, Moores’ unassuming, subtle homage to 70s styles: a quiet harbinger of great things to come. And sure enough, we now have Dryad, an aptly-named, pastoral dreamscape lifted by plush, velvety mosses and mimosa-narcissus florals. Yes, it projects a retro sensibility - almost impossible to avoid when you use galbanum-style greens - but it does so without cliches or nostalgia. This is a fully-fledged scent in its own right, confident in its own identity to the extent that it doesn’t feel the need to set itself against mainstream peers. In other words, I’d say it is Moores’ most complete and most rounded composition to date, a timeless vision of young bodies - skins gleaming with a thin sheen of perspiration - lying on dry grass, looking straight up at the sky, whispering tales of summer longings. A sylvan delight.

[Review based on a samole of eau de parfum obtained by the author in 2017.]

PS Please don't forget that the next episode of Love At First Scent will be broadcast this Sunday; more details at this link.

Persolaise

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Facebook Live This Sunday


Here's a brief announcement that the next episode of my Facebook Live series, Love At First Scent, will be broadcast on Sunday 11th February at 3:00 pm UK time (10:00 am New York time). To watch it, please click on this link to the Persolaise Perfumes Facebook page.

I haven't yet decided what I might sniff in this particular instalment, but there are quite a few goodies I could choose, including new releases from Gallivant, Sammarco and St Giles (a brand that's just about to launch at Selfridges) as well as a new flanker to a bestselling modern classic (see the picture above for a clue).

I hope you'll be able to tune in.

Persolaise 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: Black Narcissus (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger; 1947)


Cinema Scent is back on BBC Radio 4's Film Programme tomorrow (Thursday 1st Feb) at 4 pm (UK time) and in this episode, the movie I've chosen takes us to a convent high on a wind-swept mountain top: Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus from 1947, named after the Caron fragrance which also inspired one of the best perfume blogs out there. So, wrap up warm, adjust your wimples and start climbing...

To listen to the episode as it's being broadcast, please click here. As per usual, I'll update this post with a link to the podcast as soon as it's available. Here's a link to the streaming/downloadable version; my bit comes up at around 23 minutes.

To read the Cinema Scent reviews published on this blog, please click here.

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Who Am I Today? - Persolaise On Feelunique

image: Feelunique

The mood-shifting - or should that be 'mood-reflecting? - power of perfume is the subject of my first article of the year for Feelunique. Please click here to read it... especially if you can't quite make up your mind about whether you're feeling assertive, energetic or pensive today.

Persolaise

Friday, 19 January 2018

Persolaise Review: L'Oudh from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2017)


One of the statements made most often in assessments of the success of Apple is that, in terms of coming up with a certain product or idea, the company was rarely first. Instead, its creative forces looked at what everyone else was doing and then found a way to do it better. That’s precisely what came to my mind as I started wearing Andy Tauer’s L’Oudh. The Swiss perfumer is late to the agarwood party. As you’ll all be aware, it is now far easier to count how many brands don’t feature an oud scent in their portfolio than it is to list those which do. (And the former are constantly growing smaller in number; keep your nostrils flared for imminent news of another house that’s decided to succumb to that Middle Eastern allure.) However, Tauer has never bothered much with trends, which means he’s in an excellent position to consider the oud phenomenon at his own pace and formulate a very personal response to it.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 11 On YouTube


This year's first episode of Love At First Scent was broadcast on Facebook Live on Friday and it has now been uploaded to YouTube. As ever, you can watch it above or by clicking here. In this instalment I covered

Candy Sugar Pop from Prada (at the start of the video)
Vanille Fatale from Tom Ford Private Blend (at the 13:30 minute mark)
Vio Volta from DS & Durga (at the 25:00 minute mark)
Villa M from Paul Schutze (at the 41:00 minute mark)
Ummagumma from Bruno Fazzolari (at the 53:30 minute mark)

As per usual, the original video is still on Facebook. Click here to watch it.

Persolaise

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Persolaise Interviews Christopher Chong In The Latest Nez + Next Facebook Live This Friday


"I don't think any of my perfumes are strange, maybe because I live with them every single second of my life. It's like having a child. Even if your child is a little bit odd, you don't see it. They seem normal to you. I have heard a lot of people telling me that my perfumes are not that easy to understand. But that is what I want to do. At least I have the guts to push the olfactive palette, like people used to do in the last century. And I want the customers to work hard with me and take the time to understand the journey."
I'm genuinely proud to announce that the latest issue of Nez magazine, available in both French and English, features a piece I wrote about Amouage's Creative Director, Christopher Chong. Needless to say, it also contains several other articles worthy of your time, so if you'd like to find out how you can get your hands on a copy, please click here.

Don't forget that I'm hoping to broadcast the eleventh episode of Love At First Scent on Facebook Live (click here) on Friday 12th January at 2:30 pm UK time (9:30 am New York time). I plan to start with the new Private Blend from Tom FordVanille Fatale. Please try to tune in.

Persolaise

Monday, 8 January 2018

Vanilla Perfume Recommendations - Persolaise On Feelunique + Next Love At First Scent On Friday 12th January

image: Feelunique

In my new article for Feelunique, I've turned to one of the oldest - and, arguably, one of the most divisive - perfumery ingredients: vanilla. To see which sticky delights made it into the piece, please click here.

The fates permitting, the eleventh episode of Love At First Scent - this year's first - will be broadcast on Facebook Live (click here) on Friday 12th January at 2:30 pm UK time (9:30 am New York time). In response to my followers on Instagram, I've decided to open the episode with the latest Private Blend from Tom Ford: Vanille Fatale. I'm getting nervous already...

Persolaise

Friday, 5 January 2018

Scent Imitates Art - Basenotes Interview With Evody's Cerine Vasseur & Perfumer Cecile Zarokian

image: Basenotes
Vasseur (left) with Zarokian

"What abstract artists did was to use shapes and colours. I thought that if I had to transpose abstraction into my field, my art, it would be to use my ingredients without representing anything in particular. So it would be non-figurative. It's very tricky, actually. Because it's about balance. You focus on the fragrance and the emotions it gives you, without being able to say it's about rose or jasmine. I think you could say it's citrusy, or it's floral, or woody or green. But besides that, you can't say which kind of flower or wood or spice is in it."
A couple of weeks ago, Basenotes published my interview with Cerine Vasseur (co-founder of Evody) and Cecile Zarokian (creator of the brand's latest trio of scents). To read the full interview, please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 29 December 2017

The Best Perfumes Of 2017 - Tobacco, Witches & Unmade Beds


I'm told 'busy' is now the word we most commonly use in response to 'How have you been?' (apparently just saying 'Very well' smacks of some kind subversive, trouble-making, rat-race-denying laziness), but it's difficult for me to find another way of describing the last 12 months. Still, as I always point out to friends, there's 'good busy' and there's 'bad busy', and I like to think that I've had more of the former than the latter. Certainly, Persolaise.com and all its satellite activities have kept me occupied. In addition to all the reviews and articles here, I created a channel on YouTube, I started a series of broadcasts on Facebook Live and I even managed to take my love of perfume and movies to BBC Radio 4's Film Programme.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Wishes 2017


We've nearly made it, folks: another year is about to end. I'll be posting my annual Best Of list on Friday 29th December (so please come back to read it) but until then, I just wanted to wish you and yours all the very best for the festive season. Enjoy lots of food, spend time with those you hold dear, laugh as hard as you can... and wear your favourite perfume!

Have a joyous Christmas,

Persolaise

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Cinema Scent: Marjorie Prime (dir. Michael Almereyda; 2017)


A part of me wants to say that the makers of Marjorie Prime missed a trick, but I realise that would just be a case of giving into churlishness. Because even though it doesn’t engage with the olfactory world as fully as it could have - given its story - the film is a praiseworthy achievement, deserving of much more publicity than it seems to be getting at the moment.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 10 On YouTube + Catch Me On BBC Local Radio Tonight


Last Sunday I broadcast this year's final episode of Love At First Scent - the 10th in the series - and I've now uploaded it to YouTube, so you can either watch it above or by clicking here. In this instalment I covered

Beach Hut Woman from Amouage (at the start of the video)
Black Heart from Map Of The Heart (at the 16:00 minute mark)
L'Oudh from Tauer Perfumes (at the 29:00 minute mark)
Koeptys from Nejma (at the 33:00 minute mark)

As ever, the original video is still on Facebook. Click here to watch it.


Finally, I'd just like to mention that, all being well, I should appear on Georgey Spanswick's show on BBC Local Radio at about 7:30 pm (UK time) tonight, discussing the year's best perfumes. To listen online, please click here.

Persolaise

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: July to September 2017 [part 2]


Here comes part 2 of the latest digest of my mini-reviews. For part 1, please click here.

Bamboo Rose from Aerin (2017)*
One of a trio of rose 'colognes' (which is probably supposed to mean that they're relatively light rose scents). This one heads into white floral territory, combining the eponymous note with musks and jasmine. Very '4 o'clock tea on the verandah, darling'. And the size of the bottle means you don't mind spraying the stuff quite liberally not just upon your person but into your surroundings as well.

AB Cashmere from Uèr Mì (Jean Jacques; 2014)*
Cooling, beige, sticky, dessert-like vanilla + osmanthus over LARGE musks. More about temperature than fabric. Humdrum.

WE Tweed from Uèr Mì (Jean Jacques; 2014)*
Curiously colourless amber, with an inky wetness at the top. Like tweed, seems to absorb light, but similarity ends there.

OH Denim from Uèr Mì (Phillipe Bousseton; 2014)*
Hmmm, denim is a gentle white floral? Shows how subjective this game is. Maybe it’s a cutesy, flower-embroidered jacket.

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