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.


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]


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!


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.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 4 On YouTube

Those of you who missed Episode 4 of my Facebook Live Love At First Scent series may be interested to know that it's now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I sniffed

Terroni from Orto Parisi
Girl Of Now from Elie Saab
Live'n'Loud and Feel'n'Chill from Jusbox
Cristal Sensuel from Lalique

I also took a few moments to touch on Histoire D'Orangers from L'Artisan Parfumeur (full review coming soon) as well as the Figment duo from Amouage.

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), which is where you'll find the comments left by viewers during the live stream.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Point At Which They Meet: Nicolas Chabot On Æther

You talk with buyers in London, they say, 'Okay, if you want to get into our stores, you need to use oud, you need to concentrate at 30%, you need to do this and that.' And I think, 'If you want to do that, do it yourself.' That's always the difference between business and creativity. At what point do they meet? At what point do you make something which you can sell, but which brings something new to the market?

A few months ago, I met up with Nicolas Chabot to discuss the London launch of his all-synthetic Æther brand. To read a record of our chat - which included his thoughts on each of the scents in his collection - click here.


Monday, July 10, 2017

What Does Unisex Mean Anyway? - Persolaise & The Perfume Pros On YouTube

For the third and final video I made with the Perfume Pros, I was asked to consider the question of why some perfumes might lend themselves more to the 'unisex' label than others. I hope you enjoy the discussion.

If you'd prefer to watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Non-Perfume Post: Dariush Alavi On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme

I hope you won't mind my stepping away from the world of perfume for a moment to bring you some news about another creative field that is dear to my heart.

Those of you who take an interest in the world of cinema may already be regular listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Film Programme presented by Francine Stock… and if you're not, you really ought to be. Since the start of this year, the programme has been running through an alternative, anti-usual-suspects A-Z of best directors and as it approached the letter K, its makers did me the tremendous honour of inviting me into the studio to say a few words about my all-time favourite. To find out who that is, you'll have to listen to the podcast (click here). If you don't have time for the entire episode, fast forward to around the 6-minute mark. I should also mention that my appearance is in 'unmasked' mode - not as Persolaise but as Dariush Alavi - which seems appropriate for an instalment focussing on the new Spider-Man movie.

Scented service will resume with the next post.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: L'Eau from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2017) + Love At First Scent Is Back On Friday!

My latest Sixty Second Scents review is on a new release from Andy Tauer: a modern cologne called L'Eau. To watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


This Friday, 8th July, at 2:30 pm (UK time) please tune in to my Facebook page (click here) for Episode 4 of Love At First Scent, my series of live broadcasts in which I smell new releases for the first time on camera and try to put my initial impressions into words for you. To see the previous episodes, please click here.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Stepping Over To The Other Side - Chandler Burr On You Or Someone Like You

A double-whammy for you today, you lucky, lucky people. Over on Basenotes (click here), you can read my interview with Etienne De Swardt of Etat Libre D'Orange, conducted at the London launch of the new You Or Someone Like You. And below, you'll find highlights of a recent correspondence with one of the scent's co-creators, none other than Chandler Burr, author of The Emperor Of Scent as well a novel called You Or Someone Like You, on which this new fragrance is based.

Quick tip: I'd say you ought to read the Basenotes piece before you read this one. And for my review of You Or Someone Like You, please click here.



Persolaise: As someone whose role in the perfumery industry has been that of critic and commentator, what was it like stepping behind the scenes to develop a perfume? Did you gain new insights into the creation process? Did you find yourself developing a greater (or lesser!?) appreciation of some aspects of the system?

Chandler Burr: Absolutely I have a greater appreciation for what Helen Murphy, Karyn Khoury, and other creative directors do. It was interesting and perhaps slightly surreal to actually be doing what for over a decade I've watched, documented -- for The New Yorker inside Hermès and for the New York Times with Sarah Jessica Parker most extensively -- for over a decade. It was pretty nerve wracking at the time. "This mod or that one? What do I choose? Wait, why the f*** can't I even smell the difference? Calm down, just smell them tomorrow. Ah, now the difference is clear -- but still, which one should I choose?" I ask Caroline Sabas, the perfumer, to try two things; she and I then both agree they don't work. She gives me an "OK, genius, what do you want to do now?" look. But when it works, it's just awesome.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is It For Girls Or For Boys? - Persolaise Is Back With The Perfume Pros

Here comes the second of the videos I made with the Perfume Pros, and this time, they had something rather devious up their sleeves... but I'll let them explain in their own words, so hit Play and enjoy. If you'd rather watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.

And if you'd like a link to the first video, here it is.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Persolaise Review: Ylang Ylang from E Coudray (2016) + Initial Thoughts On The Perfume Exhibition At Somerset House

Usually, by the time I get around to writing about a limited edition release, it's as hard to find as a shred of maturity in a Quentin Tarantino movie. So for all I know, Coudray's glorious Ylang Ylang is now conspicuous by its absence in perfumeries and is doing the rounds of the auction sites and the scent-swap communities. Nevertheless, I must bring it to your attention. A re-working of the brand's own Fetiche from 1978, it's the sort of composition that reduces cynical critics to gibbering wrecks and renders us speechless. "Perfumery must look to the future," we tend to say, "there's no point dwelling on the past, we can't keep expecting old brands to produce the sort of thing they made decades ago." But then along comes a retro beauty like this one, and we're forced to scuttle into a corner like toddlers, waiting to be served a portion of our own high-and-mighty words.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Zest Of Life - Persolaise On Colognes In The Scented Letter

The latest issue of The Scented Letter - the award-winning magazine of The Perfume Society - contains a piece by yours truly on the current revival of the eau de cologne. With contributions from Christine Nagel, Andy Tauer and Roja Dove, the piece aims to explain why this centuries-old composition is enjoying a resurgence in popularity at this moment in time.

As The Scented Letter is available only to members of The Perfume Society, I can't reveal much more about the article, except to say that it also includes a run-down of a few of my favourite colognes, some of which I've described as follows:

Coiled springs of energy waiting to be unleashed, like scented sprinters soaring towards the finish line.
A feast of citrus blossoms, filled with the hopes, dreams and passions of honeymoon vows.
Clocks slow down. Pulses relax. The globe slips into a siesta gear. And the jolly grapefruit just keeps grinning.

If that's enough to whet your appetite and you aren't already a member of the Society, please click here.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: You Or Someone Like You from Etat Libre D'Orange (Caroline Sabas; 2017)

The people at Etat Libre D'Orange have just released another one of their collaboration scents - this time created together with Chandler Burr - and here's my Sixty Second Scents review of it. To watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.

By the way, stay tuned for extended interviews with both Burr and Etienne De Swardt of ELDO.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Knowing How To Seduce - Interview With Nathalie Feisthauer On Basenotes

image: Basenotes

At the recent London launch of Aedes De VenustasPelargonium, I managed to interview its creator, Nathalie Feisthauer (Eau Des Merveilles, Honour Man, Putain Des Palaces). Our lively conversation - which covered all sorts of topics from Sophia Grojsman's seduction strategies to the composition of Merveilles - is featured in my latest piece for Basenotes. Please click here to read it.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Father's Day Inspiration - Persolaise Joins The Perfume Pros On YouTube

A short while ago, I was honoured to be invited by the Perfume Pros to join them for a series of videos on their YouTube channel about masculine perfumery. The first of our efforts has now been published, so I'd be delighted if you could take the time to watch it.

If you'd prefer to view it on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: January to March 2017 [part 2]

Part 2 of my January to March 2017 Twitter mini-review round-up. For part 1, please click here.

Myrrh & Tonka from Jo Malone (Mathilde Bijaoui; 2016)*
Latter comes across as a fuzzy lavender; the former as brown, orange-y baked apples. A shoulder shrug in a bottle.

Baiser Fou from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2017)*
Strange berries and forest fruit over bitter-honey florals and stinging citruses. Whiff of lipstick. Crimson-hued.

Arbolé Arbolé from Hiram Green (Hiram Green; 2016)**
Is it soapy leaves or sweet bubbles floating on a lily pond? Chestnuts? 80s deodorant? It's fun trying to decide.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is There Too Much Perfume - Persolaise In Issue 2 of Tauer Mag

image: Tauer Mag

Thanks to my age and background, I have strong memories of 1980s Communist Poland. During those constraining times, if you wanted to buy a car - assuming you had enough money and you'd somehow managed to get yourself on the 18+ month waiting list - the choice was simple. You went for a Fiat 126p, the tinny, two-door, 1970s-born successor to the Fiat 500, with the 'p' at the end of the model number indicating that it was built east of the Iron Curtain. Or you could have a 125p, which gave you two, whole, additional doors. Or, if you were being really reckless with the family fortune, you could order a Polonez, the hatchback which once earned a spot on Jeremy Clarkson's list of the worst vehicles ever. And that was pretty much it. One out of three. Don‘t like any of them? Catch the bus.

I'm delighted to announce that the latest issue of Tauer Mag from Andy Tauer features another contribution from yours truly: a piece considering the question of whether we have too much perfume. The magazine also contains an interview with Lizzie Ostrom about her work on the upcoming perfume exhibition at Somerset House, as well as an account of one of Andy's trips to the US. It's available only in print form; please click here for more info.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Scent Of A Bride - Persolaise On Feelunique... & In The Latest Cosmopolitan!

image: Feelunique

My latest piece for Feelunique tackles the topic that always comes up when May sweeps into June: the perfect perfume for a bride. To see my recommendations, please click here.

And on an entirely different note, a couple of quotes from yours truly are to be found within the latest issue of UK's Cosmopolitan in a piece by Lucy Partington about affordable, high-quality scents. You'll find it a few pages after the bare bums. Rush to your nearest corner shop now.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Persolaise Review: Rose Royale from Nicolaï (Patricia De Nicolaï; 2017)

Perfumery is often an exercise in minor variations. Pick a familiar tune. Give it a subtle twist. Change the tempo. And voila: you've ended up with something that manages to be both comforting, comprehensible and accessible without seeming like a complete clone of all that has come before. Of course, as time passes, such variations are more difficult to accomplish: how many new ways are there going to be of saying 'amber' or 'jasmine' or 'musk'? Patricia De Nicolaï is clearly unafraid of such olfactory challenges, because the subject of her latest effort is another one of those super-ubiquitous scent materials: rose.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Luxury Perfumes - Persolaise On Fashionbeans

image: Fashionbeans

Male grooming expert and award-winning writer Lee Kynaston has just published a piece on Fashionbeans about 'luxury' perfumes for men. It features a few contributions from me, so if you'd like to read it, please click here.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 3 On YouTube

Episode 3 of my Love At First Scent series is now on YouTube, so you can watch it either by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I covered the brand new Oud Minerale from Tom Ford, Aromatics Elixir Premier Edition Prestige from Clinique, Flower Eau De Lumiere from Kenzo, the beautiful Naias from Sammarco and Ambre Royal from Ormonde Jayne. Can you tell which one was my favourite?

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), which is where you'll find the comments left by viewers during the live stream.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: CK All from Calvin Klein (Alberto Morillas & Harry Fremont; 2017)

Do we need another flanker to CK One? Turns out that we do. Here's my Sixty Second Scents review of the brand new CK All, put together by Alberto Morillas and Harry Fremont. To watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.

Oh, and a quick reminder: if you're free at around 5 pm (UK time) on Sunday - Friday 21st May - please tune in to my Facebook page (click here) for the next instalment of Love At First Scent.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Live Coverage Of 2017 Fragrance Foundation UK Awards - But Will It Be Twitter Or Facebook?

By the time this post pops up I'll be on the way to London for tonight's Fragrance Foundation UK Awards ceremony. I hope to bring you live coverage of the event, but as I write these words, I don't know if I'll be using Facebook Live or Twitter. My preference would be the former, but it requires a strong mobile data signal, so if the technology lets me down, I'll revert to Twitter and the #TFFAwardsUK hashtag (see the widget below). Whatever happens, I'm sure you'll all find out who the winners are.

And speaking of Facebook Live, please joint me for the next instalment of Love At First Scent this Sunday, 21st May, at around 5 pm UK time. You should be able to watch it on my Facebook page (please click here).


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Coming On Sunday: Love At First Scent Episode 3

You have been told

All being well, this Sunday, 21st May 2017, at around 5 pm UK time, I hope to broadcast another Facebook Live stream: the third episode of my Love At First Scent series. One of the goodies I'm hoping to unwrap is an exciting new release from Clinique. And if the postal service doesn't let me down, I should also be able to present the latest Private Blend from Tom Ford. Fingers crossed! I hope you can all make it. (UPDATE: The Private Blend has arrived... and it's all I can do to stop myself from spraying it!)

While I'm in social media promotion mode, I should also mention that I hope to bring you live coverage of Thursday night's Fragrance Foundation UK Awards. For more info, please look out for a post that's scheduled to pop up tomorrow (ie Thursday) at 10 am UK time.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Persolaise Review: Azurée D'Or from Estée Lauder (2017)

It's hard not to succumb to a sense of ennui at the interminable parade of flankers presented to us by mainstream brands these days. But when a company leaves a gap of almost 50 years between a perfume's initial release and the appearance of its first bona fide follow-up, you can't help but experience a measure of curiousity. Cue: Azurée D'Or, the brand new companion to Azurée, which has been in Estée Lauder's catalogue since 1969. (Okay, strictly speaking, we did have a coconut-heavy, limited edition in 2007, but that was very short-lived and can probably be pushed to one side for the sake of today's argument.) A span of almost half a century provides a compelling opportunity to consider how certain scent codes have changed. In other words: how do we alter the style of a late 60s leather composition to bring it in line with contemporary tastes? In this case, the answer would seem to be: flush the toilet.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 2 Is Now On YouTube

Last Friday's episode of Love At First Scent is now on YouTube, so you can watch it either by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). I had great fun with this particular broadcast, not least when we touched on the subject of Bat from Zoologist and I got some chuckle-raising comments from viewers. Amongst the other perfumes I sniffed were: Persian Saffron from Zegna, Gelsomini Di Capri from Carthusia and the gorgeous new Ylang Ylang from E Coudray.

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), which is where you'll find the comments left by viewers during the live stream.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: Mon Guerlain From Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2017) + Facebook Live Reminder

Next up in my series of Sixty Second Scents reviews is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, Thierry Wasser's Mon Guerlain for Guerlain. To watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.

And if you're free at around 3 pm (UK time) tomorrow - Friday 5th May - please tune in to my Facebook page (click here) for the next instalment of Love At First Scent.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In The Mood For Summer? - Persolaise On Feelunique

I know it doesn't exactly feel like summer down here along the south coast of England, but hopefully warmer weather is on its way... so if you're looking for scented, sunny inspiration, please check out my new, holiday-inspired piece on Feelunique. Click here to read it.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 1 On YouTube + Next Facebook Live Is This Friday!

The Facebook Live broadcast I streamed on Friday is now on YouTube, so you can watch it right here (see above) or if you prefer to watch it on the YouTube page, please click here. I managed to cover quite a few scents, including the new Oud Essentiel from Guerlain, as well as Andy Tauer's Hyacinth And A Mechanic, which forms part of his intriguing Story trio of fragrances. You'll have to watch the video to find out why I say "intriguing"...

The video is still on Facebook, so you could watch it right there, of course, especially if you'd like to see the comments and discussion it generated. Click here to be taken to my Facebook page.

Technology and gremlins permitting, this Friday will see me deliver another Facebook Live broadcast, this time at around 3:00 pm (UK time). I wasn't planning to do the next one quite so soon, but I'll explain why I've changed my mind during the broadcast.

Hope to see you there,


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Capturing The Scent Of War + Facebook Live Reminder!

I imagined I was walking in a town, partly destroyed by the war, with some fires burning, but maybe also still with some trees and some flowers around. And I thought it must be very emotional to walk through your own town if it has been destroyed, with the odours of what reminds you of life and what shows you the effects war.
A few months ago, when I caught up with Jean-Christophe Hérault (Hot Cologne, Cuir Impertinent, Florabotanica) at the London launch of Boucheron's new La Collection range of 'exclusive' scents, we had a fascinating chat about the struggle for originality, the pressures faced by young perfumers and, most intriguingly, his recent work at the Institut Du Monde Arabe. To read my account of our encounter, please click on this link to Basenotes.

Finally, please try to tune in to my Facebook Live broadcast on Friday 28th April at around midday, UK time - technology permitting! - for the first instalment (should I call it my pilot episode?) of Love At First Scent. To watch it, you'll have to go to the Persolaise page on Facebook (please click here) and 'Like' it. 

Hope to see you then,


Monday, April 24, 2017

Heads Up: Persolaise On Facebook Live Friday 28th April 2017 & In The First Issue Of Tauer Magazine

image: Andy Tauer

The realm of scent is probably the most enigmatic territory in which the Ape and the Angel meet: it somehow manages to be both entirely primal and entirely cerebral. It is a field of creation in which precision, technology and abstract intellect are employed to elicit inexplicable emotions, to grasp at desires, to cast light on shadows of memories.

A few weeks ago, the Zurich-based perfumer Andy Tauer launched the first issue of what he hopes will be a regular customer magazine in which he'll publish thoughts and views on the world of scent-creation. I was very fortunate to be asked to contribute an article to the debut edition, a few lines of which you can read above. The entire magazine is now available online to all, so if you'd like to read it, please click here. I do urge you to take a look at it, not just because I'd love it if you read my piece, but also because of Tauer's own account of a recent trip to Saudi Arabia, which sparked a particularly interesting upcoming release.

Whilst I'm in self-promotion mode, I'd also like to say - with a massive gulp of trepidation - that I'm planning to broadcast a Facebook Live video on this Friday, 28th April 2017, at around 12:00 pm UK time. Of course, the entire scheme could be derailed by dodgy technology, or a nasty cold or a whole host of other, unexpected developments. But all being well, I shall be in front of my camera on Friday, for the first episode of a new venture I'm calling Love At First Scent. The video will be broadcast through my Persolaise Perfumes page, so if you don't already know where it is, please click here. I do hope you'll be able to join me on Friday!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: January to March 2017 [part 1]

Here's a new Twitter mini-review round-up, this time covering the first three months of 2017.

Colonia Quercia from Acqua Di Parma (2016)*
Brave trying to do a mossy note. Linked with fruit-citrus aspects, it works well. Rather burly & saturnine.

Blossom Love from Amouage (2017)*
Hard-headed florals & mosses. Tough to find the love here. An unyielding quality at odds with the idea of blossoms.

Lilac Love from Amouage (2016)*
Confident retro chypre, with greens, lilacs, rose, patchouli & cacao. Maybe touch too loud, but likeable nonetheless.

Roaring Radcliff from Penhaligon's (Daphné Bugey; 2016)*
Promising, dry, earthy tobacco, linked with rose and cool spices. A pleasing combo, but fades too quickly.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents - Eau Des Merveilles Bleue from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2017)

Another Sixty Second Scents video review for you: Christine Nagel's Eau Des Merveilles Bleue for Hermès... complete with painful French pronunciation.

To view the video on the YouTube site, please click here.

Finally, to everyone celebrating Easter this weekend: may your feasting know no limits! Chocolate. Cakes. Sweets. Enjoy them all!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Persolaise Review: Pour Homme Parfum from Bottega Veneta (Daniela Andrier & Antoine Maisondieu; 2017)

I can't help but envy Italian men their sense of style. Yes, I know I'm making a generalisation as broad as the shoulders of Michelangelo's David, but spend a few minutes sipping an espresso in Verona and you start to believe that every single guy in the country is born reading a good grooming manual. Those bright red moccasins. The silk pocket square. A tangle of leather bracelets. Precision-cut facial hair. The pale yellow Lacoste jumper draped over a polo shirt. It's all so deliciously sprezzatura. This very particular masculine aesthetic - part nonchalant bear, part predatory tiger - has in recent years found expression in Daniela Andrier and Antoine Maisondieu's Pour Homme scents from Bottega Veneta. And although the initial version veered just a tiny bit too close to cardboard-cutout territory, its flankers have been more impressive, leaning away from the pseudo-citrus notes towards the leathers and the spices. That trend continues in this new 'Parfum' iteration (despite its name, it's an eau de parfum) which sees the tannery-centred base notes cling even closer to the wearer's skin. The trademark pine inflection is still present, but in this case, the sun has long set behind the trees, forcing one's gaze to pick out details in the dark: the undergrowth, the dying embers, the resinous vegetation releasing its scent into the sky. The effect is convincingly nocturnal, yet resolutely modern and urban... proving that even when he's shed the day clothes and slipped into his sleeping gear, our Italian gent never sacrifices the need for a high-quality fabric and some fine stitching

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Bottega Veneta in 2017.]


Friday, March 31, 2017

Persolaise Review: Superstitious from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle & Alber Elbaz (Dominique Ropion; 2017)

Frederic Malle isn't letting go of his broad brush. In recent years, the perfumes emerging under his label (both pre and post-Lauder acquisition) have become more voluminous and more robust, to the extent that it's now hard to imagine him giving us something displaying the delicacy of, say, En Passant or L'Eau D'Hiver. Indeed his latest - Superstitious, composed by Dominique Ropion, as part of a collaboration between Malle and Alber Elbaz - could well be his largest yet. And yes, I know I make this claim about a collection which includes the likes of Carnal Flower and Portrait Of A Lady. But there's no denying the scale of this thing, because that is its chief strength and, arguably, its most problematic feature.

Monday, March 20, 2017

She's More Than Mum - Perfume Choices For Mother's Day 2017

It's all too easy to forget that before she had you, your mum had a life of her own. You may have grown used to seeing her just as the person who taught you how to tie your shoelaces, nagged you to tidy your room and gave you an endless hug when you had your heart broken. But there was a time when she had an identity that wasn't connected to yours in any way. She was a princess when she wanted to be, or an adventurer, or a dreamer, a planner, a party-animal, a culture-vulture, or a lover. All those facets of her personality are still in there, although they might not have many chances to show themselves these days. Perhaps they need a bit of a perfumed prompt to bring them out of hiding. After all, there's nothing better than fragrance to help us showcase different aspects of ourselves. So yes, although Mother's Day is the one day of the year when you thank your mum for being your mum, maybe the best way you can do that is to help her find those parts of herself she's long forgotten. Here are some scented recommendations to help you out, all of which have been released within the last 3 years, just to help you stay up-to-date.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Persolaise Review: Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme (Alberto Morillas; 2017)

Woah! Don't ever let me say that mainstream masculine scents can't be surprising any more. After years of fobbing us off with various editions of the amoeboid dross that is Guilty, Gucci's fragrance output seems to have had a sudden awakening recalling the heyday of the Tom Ford era. What's even more unexpected is that they've slotted it under the Guilty banner and simply called it Guilty Absolute Pour Homme. But make no mistake, this stuff warrants a name of its own. Like some rocket-fuelled thruster burning a swathe through a cypress forest, it burns with patchouli-heavy, petrol-soaked leather notes so incendiary, they must have caused the marketing bods at Gucci to weep into their velvet loafers. How did this whip-smacking beauty get past them? Who knows? But apparently, the newish director of the fashion line, Alessandro Michele, deserves some of the praise. According to the official press notes, he collaborated with Alberto Morillas to bring this unexpected composition to life, providing just the reminder the mainstream needs that no amount of focus group testing will ever replace lucid, artistic vision. Okay, maybe the flames in Absolute don't project far enough - a concession to the pleas of the loafer weepers? - but that's a small price to pay for a startling, impressively linear, long-lasting piece of work that throws down the gauntlet to all other comparable brands. I just hope it delivers the goods at the till, so that Michele is allowed to have his way with the rest of the collection.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Gucci in 2017.]


Friday, March 10, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents - Blackpepper from Comme Des Garçons (Antoine Maisondieu; 2016) + Persolaise Turns Seven!

On the eve of the 7th anniversary of this blog (doesn't seem possible!) here's my next Sixty Second Scents video review. This one is of a perfume which I first brought to your attention several months ago: the rascally Blackpepper from Comme Des Garçons, composed by Antoine Maisondieu.

To watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.

Finally, I can't let the anniversary go by without saying a heartfelt thank you to everyone who's supported my writing over the last seven years, especially family, friends and all of you: the best readers in the blogosphere!


Monday, March 6, 2017

NEWS: Major Perfumery Exhibition At Somerset House, London, 21 June - 17 September 2017

This year's perfume calendar just became much more exciting: Somerset House have announced an exhibition they're calling 'Perfume - A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent'. In itself, this would have been welcome news. But what makes it even more attention-worthy is the fact that the exhibition has been co-curated by none other than our own Lizzie Ostrom, aka Odette Toilette, author of A Century Of Scents.

More details will be revealed in the coming weeks, but we can already tell from what's been posted on the Somerset House website (click here) that this is going to be much more than a simplistic, superficial commercially-driven gallery of pleasant smells. Crucially, it's going to focus on the role of the perfumer: some of the names posted on the site include Daniela Andrier, Antoine Lie and Lyn Harris.

The exhibition will take place from 21st June to 17th September and tickets are already on sale. All being well, I shall attend it myself (at least once!) and I suspect I'll write about it. Can't wait!


Friday, March 3, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: October to December 2016 [part 2]

Here's part 2 of my latest round-up of Twitter mini-reviews. For part 1, please click here.

Eau Des Delices from Jardins Retrouvé (Yuri Gursatz; 2016)*
Classic cologne, with bright mandarine, bergamot and lemon notes. Simple. Wearable. Forgettable.

Jasmin Kama from Rania J (Rania Jouaneh; 2013)**
Heavy, mothball indoles over sticky musky-vanilla base. Jasmine as confection. I'll go straight for the cheese course.

Ambre Loup from Rania J (Rania Jouaneh; 2012)**
Mono-dimensional labdanum overdose, with suggestion of woods and spices. Rapidly loses any heat it may possess at start.

T Habanero from Rania J (Rania Jouaneh; 2014)**
Opens as wonderfully brash 80s man concoction - tobacco, nutmeg & strong woods. Grows too quiet, but remains charming.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents - Outrageous from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle (Sophia Grojsman; 2007/2017

Here's another Sixty Second Scents video review for you: Sophia Grojsman's Outrageous for Frederic Malle, which has just come out of its exclusivity to Barneys and joined the brand's regular line-up.

To watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Persolaise On Feelunique - Sensual Perfumes

I suspect the folks at Feelunique were enjoying a spot of the ol' tongue-in-cheekery when they called my latest piece 'The Sexiest Scents Ever'. Or maybe they weren't! Either way, the article focuses on sensual perfumes, so if you'd like to read it, please click here.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Persolaise Review: Bois Marocain from Tom Ford (2009/2016)

The soundbites
If Bois Marocain were a colour, it would be a rich, iridescent mustard, somewhere between yellow and brown.
If it were an item of food, it would be a lemon smoked in a cedar cabinet.
If it were a sculpture, it would be this piece of work by Jaehyo Lee.

The review
Now that Tom Ford has brought Bois Marocain out of retirement for a limited time, I've found myself wondering why some fragrances are on what we might call the 'discontinuation cusp'. I'm sure the main reason is clear to everyone: the scents that get killed off are the ones that don't sell. But - the motivation for brands to make profits notwithstanding - there may be other factors too, related to the cost and availability of raw materials, or the need to stop a collection from growing too large, or the difficulty of reformulating a composition in response to anti-allergen recommendations. However, if we just focus on the cash question for a moment, I think it's worth trying to speculate why some perfumes sell sufficiently poorly to be taken off the shelves, but are not quite unpopular enough to be relegated to the great vat in the sky forever. In other words, what was it about Bois Marocain that didn't resonate with the great buying public in 2009?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

National Fragrance Day 2017 - Share Your #ScentMemories

Dior Fahrenheit reminds me of my Dad on family summer holidays. Of nights together for family meals, enjoying the warm summers without a care in the world and my brothers trying to wear the same scent as my Dad. When I smell the fragrance now it always takes me back to very fond summer fun.
Karyn MacEwan – Travel Retail Manager Aspects Beauty Company

The lines above are taken from, a site set up by Fragrance Foundation UK to gather the olfactory recollections of as many people as possible. In the run-up to this year's National Fragrance Day - 21st March - the folks behind the site are trying to encourage more scentusiasts to submit their own stories. So if you fancy being included in the collection, drop them a line. You'll find all the details you need on their site.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: October to December 2016 [part 1]

Here's a round-up of some of my Twitter mini-reviews from October-December 2016. Part 2 will be posted soon.

Carrot Blossom & Fennel from Jo Malone (Anne Flipo; 2016)*
More like sugary, soapy clover to me. Not what I'd reach for if I wanted sharp, anisic herbs. Innocuous.

Lavender & Coriander from Jo Malone (Anne Flipo; 2016)*
Ill-at-ease, surprisingly grating barbershop fougère, heavy on coarse lavender. Little coriander in sight.

Orris & Sandalwood from Jo Malone (Pierre Negrin; 2016)*
Synthetic sandalwoods can be vile, but here, the link with iris achieves a pleasing - if forgettable - effect.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents - Hot Cologne from Mugler (Jean-Christophe Hérault; 2016)

Here's my YouTube review of the latest addition to Mugler's Les Exceptions range, Hot Cologne, by Jean-Christophe Hérault.

To view the video on the YouTube site, please click here.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Persolaise Shortlisted For 5 2016/17 UK Jasmine Awards

I am excited to announce that when the nominees for this year's Fragrance Foundation UK Jasmine Awards were revealed a few hours ago, my name popped up 5 times. Actually, allow me to correct that. I'm not just excited: I'm over the jasmine-scented moon.

I've been shortlisted across 4 different categories: 'Soundbite - News Press' (for my Sunday Times Style article on 70s-inspired scents), 'Soundbite - Magazine' (for my Grazia piece on sexy perfumes), 'Independent - Literary' (for my Scented Letter article on the use of bases in perfumery) and 'Independent - Soundbite' (for two posts right here on one on Galop D'Hermès and the other on the best perfumes from Etat Libre D'Orange). Click on the links to find out more about the pieces.

Heartfelt congratulations to all the other nominees, especially those I'm fortunate to call friends. Many thanks to the judges and to Fragrance Foundation UK. To see all the nominees, please click here.

The winners will be announced on 15th March 2017.


Persolaise On Feelunique - When Is A Perfume Not A Perfume?

I've just had another piece published on Feelunique - this time about alternative forms of perfume - so please click here if you'd like to read it.



Friday, January 27, 2017

Persolaise Review: Falling, Across Sands, Dancing On The Moon & Soul Of The Forest from Maison Margiela (2016)

After allowing the range to remain fairly static for a while, the creative forces at Maison Margiela have taken an unexpected conceptual leap with their Replica scents: they've expanded it with what they're calling "reproductions of familiar fantasies". In other words, they've decided to abandon reality. The entire point of the Replicas was to capture real, specific moments in real, specific places, so it's difficult not to view this new quartet as a dilution of what was a pretty healthy collection. And sure enough, the old adage about truth being stranger than fiction applies well here - especially if we take 'stranger' to mean 'more interesting' - because none of these releases displays the intriguing subtleties of the best of the pre-existing Replicas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Future Perfume Classics On Fashionbeans

image: Fashionbeans

A couple of weeks ago, the award-winning journalist, Lee Kynaston, published a piece on Fashionbeans about modern masculine fragrances that stand a chance of becoming the classics of the future. To see which scents were chosen by his panel of experts - one of whom was yours truly - please click here.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: Ombré Leather 16 from Tom Ford (2016)

Something a little bit different for you today: a 60-second, YouTube review. I hope you enjoy it.

If you'd like to watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Persolaise Review: The Night 'الليل' from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle (Dominique Ropion; 2014)

The soundbites
If The Night were a colour, it would be a bronze burnished to the point that it starts looking crimson.
If it were a piece of music, it would be Al Awela Fel Gharam by Umm Kulthum.
If it were a place, it would be the Deira-side of the abra crossing alongside Dubai Creek, circa 1986.

The review
About two weeks ago, when I posted my list of the best perfumes of 2016, I hinted at the sense of frustration that's experienced when you don't manage to wear and test a praiseworthy scent close to its original release date. Given the number of new fragrances churned out each year, this is becoming an increasing problem and, as Luca Turin said, "from the standpoint of somebody who's interested in fragrance" the current state of affairs is "the stuff of nightmares". The predicament probably has no solution. Unless your name is Michael Edwards, it simply isn't possible to smell - let alone evaluate - all new fragrances. But that doesn't make the annoyance any easier to bear when you do come across a gem which should have received all the kudos and adoration that are bestowed on the contents of people's 'best of' lists. These are the thoughts that were high on my mind when I finally got to spend some quality time with Dominique Ropion's The Night for Frederic Malle.


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