Vetiver has been one of my favourite perfume notes for many years. Personal highlights from my collection include Chanel’s smoky Sycomore, The Different Company’s salty Sel de Vetiver, Christian Dior’s coffee-infused Vetiver, Frederic Malle’s Parisian Vetiver Extraordinaire and Guerlain’s archetypal Vetiver. I could go on listing more. When I heard Creed was launching a new vetiver fragrance to join its existing Original Vetiver, my interest was perked. Vetiver Geranium is part of Creed’s recently launched Acqua Originale collection, a series of five fragrances that have the freshness and radiance of eau de cologne with the tenacity of a more concentrated eau de parfum. Each fragrance is a short and focused essay, exploring raw materials gathered from around the world by Master Perfumer, Olivier Creed. The island of Java, one of the perfumer’s favourite destinations in Indonesia, inspired Vetiver Geranium. I was introduced to the Acqua Originale fragrances by Erwin Creed who was in Sydney for the collection’s Australian launch in December. As the son of Olivier Creed, Erwin is pegged to take over the family business when his father retires, placing him seventh in a family line of perfumers since Creed was established in 1760. Although his training to become a Master Perfumer continues, … Read More »
Master Perfumer Olivier Creed’s latest collection is described as a “living fragrance journal of countless globetrotting journeys with the fine art of perfumery as the narrative.” The Acqua Originale fragrances cover a broad geography, going below the mineral rich soil of Tuscany where iris bulbs are rooted, to colourful and fragrant flowerbeds in Southern India. The new collection captures the soul of the perfume’s raw materials in a modern and expressive way, quite different from Creed’s more classically structured main collection. Aberdeen Lavander sits apart from the other Acqua Originale fragrances because it involves a sense of time travel. The fragrance is tributed to one of Creed’s esteemed 19th century patrons, the British monarch Queen Victoria. The Scottish Highlands were a favourite retreat of the Queen, and with this location in mind, Olivier Creed created a fragrance very much of Queen Victoria’s era. Aberdeen Lavander is a fougere fragrance featuring the calming scent of lavender with patchouli, a fashionable smell in Victorian England. The fougere name came from an innovative cocktail of refreshing eau de cologne, geranium, woods and coumarin, which formed the basis of Paul Parquet’s Fougere Royale in 1882. Since Parquet’s time, the fougere accord has been the … Read More »
Santal Royal is one of Guerlain’s latest offerings and as the name suggests, it is an olfactory homage to sandalwood. Over millennia, sandalwood has been the substance of perfume legends. In Eastern cultures it is honoured with sacred reverence. Early Sankrit texts give accounts of fragrant sandalwood paste adorning the bodies of gods, kings and lovers. For Guerlain, Exoticism and mythic stories of love have been constant influences. After a modern system of trade was established with the East, 19th century perfumer Aimé Guerlain used Indian sandalwood oil in his abstract creation, Jicky. At the birth of Art Deco, Jacques Guerlain tributed Shalimar to the tragic love story of Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan. Later that century, Jean-Paul Guerlain authored Samsara, a name inspired by the Eastern philosophy of life and death. Originally Samsara was created for Guerlain’s muse, Decia de Powell, who requested a bespoke perfume using sandalwood and jasmine. The original formula contained an unprecedented 30% of sandalwood oil. Researching for his book, Perfume Legends, author Michael Edwards interviewed Sylvaine Delacourte who was Jean-Paul Guerlain’s assistant at the time. She recalled, “Sandalwood is one of Guerlain’s favourite materials. For as long as I have worked for him, he has told me … Read More »
Bottega Veneta is one of the more discreet Italian brands, which hangs on the periphery of fashion without too much noise. Founded in 1966, the Venetian atelier developed a reputation with connoisseurs for making meticulously crafted leathergoods. Bottega Veneta’s global expansion didn’t take place until 2001 when the Gucci Group purchased the company and Tomas Maier was appointed Creative Director. Maier helped expand Bottega Veneta from being a niche luxury brand that few people knew to an international luxury brand with boutiques all over the world. With the product offer expanding to include shoes and ready-to-wear, accessories and jewellery, the launch of perfumes was inevitable. After dipping a toe in the market with a small collaboration with L’Artisan Parfumeur making home fragrances, Bottega Veneta partnered with Coty and in 2011 the brand launched its first signature fragrance for women, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum. Robertet perfumer Michael Almairac worked on this project and he has been the brand’s preferred perfumer to date. Last year he returned to Bottega Veneta and composed Essence Aromatique. Even though he is not the only perfumer Bottega Veneta has worked with over the past four years, the brand’s olfactive signature has clearly emerged – Bottega … Read More »
Normally I am the one asking the questions during interviews and for a change I am on the receiving end. My first post for 2015 is a link to a podcast I am featured in. Christine Daley from US-based Perfumer Supply House has published an interview with me as part of her podcast series of talks with different people in the world of perfume. Below is a little bit of background on our conversation and what you can expect to hear in this podcast.
The reason I started writing a perfume blog was to learn more about perfumery as I had an interest in becoming a perfumer. I don’t really see myself as a perfumer at this stage. Maybe I am a scent designer? There is a lot of weight that comes with the title of perfumer. Usually these professionals have followed a more traditional path, learning their craft under the tutelage of a master perfumer or completing studies with a recognised and respected perfume school such as ISIPCA in Versailles. Although I have completed some basic training, a majority of my learning has come from my own experimentation with raw materials, trying to copy existing perfumes to discover how they are composed, … Read More »
Journey Man is Amouage’s latest perfume in the house’s Main Collection. It syncs harmoniously with the collection’s existing perfumes, having many hallmarks of an Amouage men’s fragrance. Yet from the point of storytelling, Journey Man is unique. It marks the beginning of a new era in the brand’s evolution. Last month when I met Amouage’s Creative Director, Christopher Chong, we talked about where he wanted to take his audience, having directed one of niche perfumery’s most successful brands for the past 8 years. In his interview he said, “When I first started, people didn’t know who I was. It took customers and the press some years to get to know me. Now I think we have reached a stage where they know more about me than I know about myself. So I decided that in the next cycle, it is much more direct. I want to have a more intimate dialogue with the world, rather than telling my story behind a narrative.” The narrative for Journey Man comes from Christopher’s interest in Chinese film noir, especially films that portray the underworld of 1920s Shanghai. It was a vibrant period in modern Chinese history, and during the early 20th century, Shanghai … Read More »
Last month I met Christopher Chong, the Creative Director of luxury Omani perfume house, Amouage. Christopher was in Australia for the press launch of his latest fragrance, Sunshine. It is the first eau de parfum from his Midnight Flower collection, which launched last year. Aside from a conversation about the new fragrance, we talked about his 8-year tenure as Creative Director of Amouage, and we spoke about the brand’s direction for the future. With 40 fragrances for Amouage under his belt, Christopher shows no sign of slowing down. Last year he announced the closure of what he termed Amouage’s first cycle. Earlier this year he launched Journey Man and Journey Woman, the first fragrances of his anticipated second cycle. I had heard that this second cycle related more to Christopher’s own life experiences. In order to understand the future, I wanted to understand the past. Below is a transcript of our candid talk, covering Christopher’s own journey with Amouage, his creative process and some interesting thoughts on what might come next.
WMSSL: How did you begin your work with Amouage?
Christopher Chong: It was just by chance. They wanted someone that didn’t come from the industry. Before we joined, things had been … Read More »
Having been a reader of the hugely popular website CaFleureBon for a number of years, I was happy when a recent conversation with the site’s creator, Michelyn Camen, turned into an invitation to contribute.
My first review for the American perfume site is about Sunshine by Amouage. It is a change of direction for Amouage if you consider its existing collections. Like other Amouage fragrances that have been assigned a female gender, Sunshine feels perfectly at home on my skin, particularly once the bright floral notes settle and the cade, patchouli, papyrus and tobacco base notes rise out. This combination of floral, woody and gourmand notes makes Sunshine an interesting floral scent on male skin.
Sunshine is easily one of my favourites for summer with an exclusive Australian launch set for December. Other countries will have to wait until February, unless you have the fortune of having an Amouage boutique in your city. In which case 100ml bottles are now available.
By following the link below, you can read the back-story and my personal thoughts on this new fragrance.
Alternatives: Diptyque Opone, L’Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant, Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan
Creative Direction: Christopher Chong
Perfumer: Sidonie Lancesseur, Robertet
Bottle Designer: Bill Trigger
Release Date: 2014
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Floral
One of my favourite writers on the topic of perfume is world renowned author and perfume expert Michael Edwards. His book, Perfume Legends, is a key resource when I am researching legendary perfumes of the 20th century. His Fragrances of the World database is a reference I always use when I write about a perfume on my blog. Michael Edwards has an office here in Australia and Mrs Edwards is Australian, so even if a majority of his time is spent in Europe, America and more recently, the Middle East, Michael returns to Australia every year and I have had the fortune of hearing him give talks about perfume for the past two years; his fragrance masterclasses are also legendary. Earlier this year, Michael accepted my request for an interview and I began recording my conversations with him as part of my research. The final recording I made with him was a talk he gave for Sydney Perfume Lovers, a group of Sydney-based perfume enthusiasts that meet regularly – their calendar of events is posted on their Meetup website. For this event, the group’s founder, Catherine du Peloux Menage organised a Q&A with Michael. Catherine … Read More »
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 »