"perfume is the art that makes memory speak" - Francis Kurkdjian

Arquiste x St Regis – the Scent of the American Gilded Age

Posted on October 28th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog, Creation. No Comments

One of the great storytellers in contemporary perfumery is Arquiste. I’m conscious of the gravitas a description like this carries, particularly now that a lot of perfume brands are marketing their greatness without any tangible measures. Describing themselves as the most luxurious, the most exclusive, the most artistic and using only the finest raw materials, these self-proclamations often go unquestioned. But I feel completely at ease with my description of Arquiste being one of the great storytellers in contemporary perfumery having talked about the creative process with Arquiste’s founder Carlos Huber on a number of occasions, and I have published several interviews with one of the two perfumers Carlos monogamously works with, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Givaudan New York’s Vice President of Perfumery. There is clearly a lot of passion and skill behind the Arquiste brand.

Carlos draws from his experience as an architect and historic preservationist to meticulously research the stories that inspire his fragrances. Each one is like an amorous rendezvous with a point in time. Boutonniere No.7 places its wearer in the foyer of the Paris Opera in 1899. The Architects Club evokes dark wood and leather, a hotel fumoir at the height of London’s Art Deco period. It is an … Read More »

Aesop – Tacit

Posted on September 8th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Fresh. 4 comments

Tacit is Aesop’s new fragrance for 2015. It follows the brand’s recently adopted method of working with leading perfumers on new olfactory product design. In 2014 Aesop collaborated with Mane perfumer Barnabe Fillon to create Marrakech Intense, and perfumer Celine Barel, one of IFF’s rising stars, created the formula for Tacit. Barel has been acquainted with Aesop for a decade and Tacit’s concept was first discussed almost three years ago, a testimony to Aesop’s careful approach to all new product launches. At the heart of every Aesop product is a love of nature, travel, the arts and the tacit knowledge those experiences yield. Australian generative artist Jonathan McCabe also collaborated on the project providing a visual element for the new fragrance. His artwork for Tacit consists of molten digital patterns that feel to me as though they are abstract forms born from the mind of Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempika. These forms are displayed inside Tacit’s box and McCabe’s work with Aesop is being exhibited at Sydney Contemporary on 10-13 September.

The formula of this new eau de parfum came from two key inspirations, the freshness of Eau de Cologne and the Mediterranean Coast, its culture, topography and perfumed vegetation. … Read More »

P Frapin & Cie – Nevermore

Posted on August 13th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, My Collection, Woods. 3 comments

Perfume is a relatively new venture for Frapin, one of the great cognac making families of France. Cognac has been in the family blood for more than twenty generations and Frapin’s first cognacs date back to the 13th century. In 2002 Beatrice Cointreau, a family descendent, began exploring the relationship between scent and cognac making. Five years later she launched the house’s first perfume. Today Frapin has nine perfumes, which are in the care of Parisian entrepreneur David Frossard. Frossard came to Frapin with a wealth of experience in the niche perfume industry and under his business and creative direction, Frapin continues to evolve. Frossard follows the brand’s founding values and like a fine cognac, Frapin’s perfumes are produced in small quantities from ingredients of a high caliber as are the perfumers Frossard chooses to work with. Craftsmanship and innovation rate highly and each perfume tells a different story linked in some way to cognac and spirits. Terre de Sarment draws from Frapin’s own story and Speakeasy conjures imagery of a smoky 1920s bar.

This winter I have been wearing the perfume Frapin launched last year called Nevermore. Like garden mulch I love the way rose fragrances protect and insulate the skin … Read More »

Aesop – Marrakech Intense Eau de Toilette & Parfum

Posted on July 29th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Oriental, Woods. 2 comments

Aesop is undeniably one of Australia’s most successful exports in the beauty industry. When Melbourne hairdresser Dennis Paphitis founded Aesop in 1987, he began by mixing essential oils into his colour treatments. He believed the concept could be taken further and he employed the help of a chemist to formulate a simple line of hair and body products. The premise of his line was the same, using fewer but better quality botanical ingredients. This ethos still holds true and today the brand is renowned for its natural grooming products, simple design aesthetics and unique retail spaces. Aesop is a praiseworthy example of how successful small businesses can grow into global brands without losing the unique identity they were founded on. I remember Aesop’s first retail store, which opened in 2004, the same year I moved to Melbourne from New Zealand. It was around the corner from my apartment in St Kilda. Sandwiched between a bakery and The Prince of Wales pub, I remember the long corridor-like store getting attention from pedestrians and weekend brunchers. The store’s employees would leave an aromatic hand balm tester just outside their door and a scent trail of essential oils wafting down Carlisle Street drew … Read More »

Amouage – Opus IX

Posted on July 22nd, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Oriental, Woods. No Comments

Amouage’s Library Collection is Christopher Chong at his most experimental. When I interviewed him in Sydney last year he described the collection as being his “couture.” As Amouage’s Creative Director of nine years, Christopher recently adjusted the brand’s compass and all new perfumes now include a more personal narrative. The next “cycle” emerged last year with the release of Journey Man and Journey Woman, and Opus IX is the first Library Collection perfume to imbibe the brand’s new spirit. Naturally my interest was piqued to smell Amouage couture reborn.

To create Opus IX, Christopher collaborated with Firmenich perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Pierre Negrin. Both perfumers come with impressive resumes and Negrin is no stranger to the brand having engineered a number of Amouage perfumes prior to Opus IX. This ninth Opus draws from Christopher’s passion for Opera. It is an art form that influenced Christopher’s perfumes before the Journey duo; the former student of opera dedicated Honour Woman to Madama Butterfly. The way Amouage perfumes are constructed could also be described as operatic with their rhythmic olfactory punctuation that separates notes into clearly defined scenes. Linear is not part of the Amouage vocabulary. The story of Opus IX is told in three scenes that form classic head, heart … Read More »


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