Christian Dior – Dior Homme Parfum

Posted on October 22nd, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, My Collection, Woods. No Comments

Fashion critics say a great designer gives you what you want before you know you want it. Before Christian Dior launched Dior Homme in 2005, I did not feel a need for vanilla in the perfumes I was wearing. I was more interested in the fresh tonic notes of fragrances such as Frederic Malle’s Angelique Sous la Pluie and L’Eau de L’Artisan by L’Artisan Parfumeur. The first time I smelled Dior Homme, I distinctly remember my experience. The way IFF perfumer, Olivier Polge, cocooned his base of soft vanilla in iris and leather made immediate sense to me and Dior Homme felt instantly at home on my skin. The experience opened up a new world of possibilities, and lifted my self-imposed vanilla embargo. Not only did Dior Homme smell fantastic, it also reset the narrow boundaries of masculinity as defined by designer perfume brands. It spoke of freshness, modernity and sophistication, without being pretentious or cliché. Dior Homme’s innovation went hand-in-hand with the French couturier’s eponymous menswear label. In 2000, designer Hedi Slimane became creative director of Dior Homme. In the same way M. Christian Dior redefined women’s couture with his “New Look” collection of 1947, Hedi Slimane redefined men’s ready-to-wear in … Read More »


Oriza L. Legrand – Foin Fraîchement Coupé

Posted on September 29th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Fresh, M - R, My Collection. 4 comments

Guerlain’s Jicky is always eulogised as a symbol of change in perfumery. When Jicky was launched in 1889, it was heralded as one of the first perfumes to use synthetic raw materials and historians call it the first abstract perfume. Although Jicky smells of its composite parts, the overall composition is abstract; it is not trying to replicate the smell of anything that exists in nature. This was revolutionary thinking in 1889. The end of the 19th century was a time of innovation and creativity that nourished all art forms. In the year of Jicky’s birth, the Eifel Tower was inaugurated, Impressionism was in full bloom and the seeds of Modern Art were beginning to sprout. Riding the coat tails of La Belle Epoque, the French perfume industry enjoyed a renewed spirit; it was a time of optimistic effervescence and creative perfume houses made small steps that contributed to Jicky’s remarkable stride forward. In 1882, perfumer Paul Parquet created Fougere Royale, which was the blueprint for Jicky’s structure. Parquet’s structure was so remarkable, it is still used in men’s perfumery today and perfumes that borrow from it are classified under the term fougere. In the seven years that separated Fougere … Read More »


Exploring the Collection: La Parfumerie Moderne

Posted on September 24th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog, Creation. 8 comments

The story of La Parfumerie Moderne begins in the small resort village of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage on the northern coast of France. Overlooking the English Channel, Le Touquet was an early 20th century playground for holidaying British aristocrats and wealthy visitors from all over the world. Business thrived and grand hotels were built on a palatial scale to accommodate visitors. The most notable grand hotel was the Royal Picardy, built in 1929. It was advertised as the largest, most luxurious hotel in the world. For 20 years the Royal Picardy was the jewel of this affluent seaside village but these lucrative years were short lived. War and the Great Depression crippled business and the hotel fell into a state of disrepair. In 1951 it closed its doors forever.

Years later we meet the main character of La Parfumerie Moderne’s story. In the 1960s, Philippe Neirinck was a young boy. The son of hoteliers, he regularly vacationed in Le Touquet with his parents. The Neirincks spent time in one of the vacant palaces, which had closed to the public. While the adults amused themselves, these empty palaces became the playgrounds of children. Wandering from room to room, young Philippe would imagine the hotel … Read More »


Exploring the Collection – Scent Stories by MiN New York

Posted on August 18th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog. 9 comments

At the start of the month I received samples of MiN New York’s recently launched Scent Stories Volume One, and over the past week I have been wearing, smelling and pondering over the eleven new perfumes. I have noticed sentiments increasing inside and outside the perfume industry, which are causing brows to be raised, followed by the comment “not another new niche perfume launch!” Niche is now a crowded space and I was very curious to smell what MiN New York’s Chad Murawczyk and Mindy Yang were serving up. As business partners, the pair own and operate one of Manhattan’s finest independent perfumeries. Their Soho boutique is a beautifully curated space, which supports the work of niche perfume’s foremost creative thinkers. How would the pair bring a fresh perspective to this densely populated market that thrives on newness? For one, the approach is different. Instead of allowing the collection to be distributed through multiple channels, this first volume of Scent Stories is available exclusively in the Americas from MiN New York. Small scale production plays into the way the collection is experienced, by appointment only from the Members Vault. Becoming a member requires registration. Applicants are evaluated not by wealth … Read More »


The Tale of Two Artisans – John Varvatos and Rodrigo Flores-Roux

Posted on July 30th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog, Creation. 4 comments

Last year when I met perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, we spoke about many things. We spoke about his work as a Senior Perfumer at Givaudan, one of the world’s most successful producers of fine fragrances and we spoke about Arquiste Parfumeur, a highly acclaimed collection of niche perfumes that Rodrigo co-authored with his colleague and friend, perfumer Yann Vasnier. It was Arquiste’s owner, Carlos Huber, who kindly offered to connect me with Rodrigo when I visited New York. More often than not, perfumers work silently behind their clients and this meeting was a rare opportunity to talk directly with the man responsible for creating multi-million dollar fragrances for some of the most influential names in the fashion and beauty industry. High above the streets of Midtown Manhattan, Rodrigo’s office read like a resume of his career. His desk was filled with rows of neatly coded laboratory vials, modifications of projects he was currently working on. Finished bottles of Rodrigo’s work sat proudly along the sill of his office window. Amongst these bottles were some personal items, which had played a part in inspiring the perfumer. A brightly coloured piñata became a prop in a story about Rodrigo’s Mexican heritage and he … Read More »


CoSTUME NATIONAL – Cyber Garden

Posted on July 15th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, My Collection, Woods. No Comments

Cyber Garden by CoSTUME NATIONAL is co-founder, Ennio Capasa’s latest men’s fragrance. The idea is inspired by a tapestry of curated plants known as the CNAC Wall, one of three spaces in Tokyo’s Aoyama Complex, which houses the brand’s Japanese flagship boutique. CoSTUME NATIONAL commissioned botanist and artist Patrick Blanc to create a vertical garden, the largest of its kind in Japan, which hosts over one hundred species of plant life across a 12 x 3 metre vertical plane. Visitors are able to admire the wall whilst enjoying a drink at the long bar overlooking Blanc’s living installation. Ennio Capasa sees the Aoyama boutique as more than just a retail space, it is “a place of lifestyle and experience where aesthetic, art and nature find the perfect balance.” It is this utopian ideal, which seeds the idea for Cyber Garden. Capasa describes the scent as “the garden of the future.” The olfactory architect behind the concept is perfumer Antoine Lie, a name that is well established in both the niche and mainstream arenas of perfumery. Cyber Garden amalgamates these two worlds, pairing some easy-to-wear commercial notes and accords with some more experimental, avant-garde ones. Artistic perfumes are often marketed with … Read More »


Guerlain – Mouchoir de Monsieur

Posted on July 12th, by What Men Should Smell Like in G - L, My Collection, Woods. 8 comments

Mouchoir de Monsieur (Gentleman’s Handkerchief) is one of the many chapters that form the fascinating story of French perfume house Guerlain. While the house’s most significant competitors have dwindled with age or they are no longer recognisable having changed ownership many times, Guerlain is a rare case, producing perfumes that have histories spanning a period of nearly two hundred years. Before 2008, the position of House Perfumer was always occupied by a Guerlain descendant and through this careful guardianship, a family style was established, namely the eponymous Guerlinade – a secret melange of tonka bean, resins, vanilla, bergamot, orris and flower extracts. It is a signature that can be found in almost every Guerlain perfume since Jicky (1889). In addition to this, each generation of Guerlain perfumer had his own individual style and Mouchoir de Monsieur comes from the house’s Belle Epoque era. It was created in 1904 by third generation perfumer, Jacques Guerlain. Although different in terms of olfactory structure, Mouchoir de Monsieur shares a similar dreamy, pastel-tone quality found in Apres L’Ondee (1906) and L’Heure Bleue (1912), which is characteristic of the perfumer’s style before World War I. Mouchoir de Monsieur elaborates on the structure of Jicky, a perfume … Read More »


Aedes de Venustas – Iris Nazarena

Posted on June 18th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, My Collection, Woods. 2 comments

I am hopelessly sentimental at the best of times and my interest in perfume provides me with endless opportunities to bath in this gooey sentiment. For me, travel is also a passion and often when I smell a fragrance purchased abroad, it has the power to take me back to the places I visited. Experience has taught me that this type of olfactory connection can be unpredictable. I intended Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino to be my “Moroccan holiday scent” but for whatever reason, images of that trip do not flash before my eyes when I smell this opulent Eau de Cologne-inspired scent. Unintentionally I purchased a bottle of Chanel’s Sycomore during my first trip to New York, 6 years ago. To this day, the smell of Sycomore takes my mind back to that summer holiday. Like the days before digital photography when you never knew what your holiday snaps had captured until the roll of film came back from the developer, it’s after the arrival home when it dawns on me which of the fragrances I was travelling with has made a permanent impression. Last year I was again in New York and interestingly, despite buying numerous bottles of perfume, … Read More »


Penhaligon’s – Iris Prima

Posted on June 5th, by What Men Should Smell Like in M - R, My Collection, Woods. 2 comments

Iris Prima is the scent of the ballet as imagined by Penhaligon’s. The British perfume house worked with Master Perfumer and last year’s recipient of The Fragrance Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Alberto Morillas, to recreate the ballet in olfactory form. Conceptual perfumes are often interesting, particularly when the source of inspiration is experienced through one of the human senses other than smell. Such a fragrance can sometimes be too literal, like a garden-inspired fragrance that smells of roses, which wins no merit points for imagination. At the opposite extreme, over-ambitious ideas sometimes translate poorly, resulting in a sense of disconnection. Since Sarah Rotheram took over the role of Penhaligon’s CEO, the brand has developed a knack for storytelling. Whether it is creating an Indian travel story (Vaara -2013) or collaborating with so-hip-right-now London fashion designers Meadham Kirchhoff (Tralala – 2014), Penhaligon’s is telling new stories that reach out to a more diverse audience, breaking its slightly dusty and traditional mould. Another innovation is the slickly produced videos featured on the brand’s Youtube channel. Why rely on traditional media to convey your story when today’s social media puts you in direct contact with potential customers all over the world? I’m enjoying … Read More »


Mona di Orio – Tubereuse

Posted on May 19th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Floral, M - R. 2 comments

During the past three years that I have been writing about the perfumes I have collected, one of things I enjoy about the process of writing a review is the search for perfume notes that go unmentioned. When perfumes are launched, an olfactory pyramid is released by the perfume house or its marketing department. This is designed to guide the nose through the experience of the new scent’s prominent top, middle and base notes but the triangular diagram omits any mention of the perfume’s minor notes, perhaps to maintain a simple description and to avoid creating confusion. Beyond the pyramid, perfumers use additional notes that discretely shape the more prominent ones. A rose might be given radiance with an overdose of Hedione or given sparkle with a miniature cocktail of aliphatic aldehydes. These less perceivable “modifiers”, in turn, create uniqueness, making one perfumer’s interpretation of a flower, fruit or wood, different from another’s. When it comes to soliflores – French perfumery jargon for a perfume composed around a singular floral theme, I find that close inspection of the minor notes will often reveal a complex structure that parallels the complexity of any other multi-note perfume, debunking the myth that soliflores are simple … Read More »




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: