Friday, 29 August 2014

Persolaise Review: La Panthère from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2014)


Mathilde Laurent's La Panthère for Cartier is a curious beast. Several commentators have been coaxed into blissful submission by what they've discerned as a warm, seductive purr emanating from the scent. But others have been less enthralled, claiming that - in sonic terms - the fragrance is a midnight howl from a stray tabby determined to give the neighbourhood no rest whatsoever. My own experience with the perfume bears out this division in opinions, which leads me to conclude - over and above the following review - that it must, at the very least, be an interesting piece of work. Any scent capable of polarising views to the extent that has been achieved by La Panthère is surely worth serious attention.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Persolaise Review: Journey Woman and Journey Man from Amouage (Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin, 2014)


In the non-perfume-related aspects of my professional life, I'm frequently reminded of a wise proverb: punish the sin, not the sinner. Journey Woman and Journey Man (both by Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin) have prompted me to apply that broad-minded philosophy to my scent writing, because although I haven't enjoyed getting to know them, they have, almost paradoxically, reinforced my belief that Amouage remains one of the most interesting non-mainstream brands around at the moment.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Persolaise Review: Rozy from Vero Profumo (Vero Kern; 2014)


Here's how you can tell that Vero Kern really loves perfume: the drydowns of all her creations - the epilogues of their existence - are always gorgeous. Like most die-hard scentusiasts - and, interestingly enough, like another grand-dame of the fragrance world, Patricia De Nicolaï - she understands that although the opening sections of a scent are important, it's the denouement, the pay-off, that really matters. This attention to the foundations of her olfactory work is in evidence once again in Rozy, the follow-up to 2012's much-loved green chypre, Mito.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Persolaise Review: 11 Semma from Odin (Phillippe Romano; 2014)


Serge Lutens' L'Orpheline recently impressed me with the endearing way it linked distinctiveness and quietness. And now, a very similar vibe appears in Phillippe Romano's 11 from Odin, the newest addition to the New York-based brand's growing - and increasingly well-regarded - portfolio. I gather 'semma' - the non-numerical segment of this creation's name - means 'tobacco' in a Native American language, and, appropriately enough, the sweet, smoky, hay-like earthiness of that little-used material is the primary focus here. It's given a faintly powdery, retro feel - which is where the link with the Lutens comes in - thanks to the inclusion of violets and myrrh. But there are plenty of spices too - mainly pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves - as well as a tea facet which stops the whole from descending into Oriental cliches. Both fresh and serious, it calls to mind a politically correct, 'western', liberal view of The Other, be that a member of the 'east' or of the indigenous population of the USA: it's fascinated with 'exotic' materials, but it exercises respect in its treatment of them, preferring to use them with a light touch. If it were a head shop, 11 would be the one that doesn't look like any other head shop, choosing gleaming, sci-fi-inspired interior decor rather than the usual woods and velvets. But don't worry: facade notwithstanding, its soul is rooted to the earth.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Odin in 2014.]

Persolaise

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A Clearer Vision - Guerlain's Thierry Wasser At Selfridges


A few weeks ago, Guerlain's in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, breezed into London. The main purpose of his visit was to begin the process of promoting the brand's latest masculine creation, L'Homme Idéal, a classically-structured piece of work, based around bitter almond, which won't appear on UK shelves until September (although it's already out in France and several other countries). But in between chatting with journalists, Wasser took some time out to address an audience at London's branch of Selfridges and to answer questions from Jo Fairley, who chaired the event in her capacity as co-founder of the new Perfume Society.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Persolaise Review: Jour D'Hermès Absolu from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena; 2014)


I still haven't made up my mind about the original, 2012 edp of Jour D'Hermès. Those of you who saw my post on it may remember that several readers who'd tried it found it bloodless and were perplexed by its green, near-vegetal note, which they variously read as lychee, shoe polish or overpowering tomato stem. Personally, I was left unsatisfied by its lack of precise legibility: its attempt to be an abstraction of all florals, as opposed to a bouquet of recognisable flower notes, seemed to create a vacuum at the heart of the composition. That said, I couldn't write it off completely. There was an elusive, intriguing quality somewhere around its edges which drew me back every now and then, curious to solve the mystery. Now, with the release of the new Absolu version, Jean-Claude Ellena offers what is essentially the same story, but by presenting it from a slightly different angle, he's made it more comprehensible and easier to enjoy.

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