Times have rapidly changed in the space of the past decade. I remember speaking to a chemical supplier in Australia some years ago about my aspirations to launch a perfume range and the supplier told me point blank I couldn’t do it, “It’s very difficult, you will fail” he said. Many cultural analysts tell us we are now living in an age of the ‘betapreneur’; a new generation of entrepreneurs that are daring, risk-friendly, small-scale, highly responsive and in continual development.
Emerald Vintners Parfums (EVP) is a new Australian perfume brand that has responded to their calling amidst a rising increase in niche perfumery. Speaking with Brendan and Samuel the brand founders, I could see there has always been inkling towards aromas. The EVP perfumers began their journey in winemaking, a science that overlaps the realm of olfaction much more than one would think.
What I enjoyed about their story was that they were simply a couple of guys, winemakers living in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia and they wanted to share their story with the world through the medium of perfume. Instead of going the normal route of submitting a perfume brief to a marketing team and a perfumer, they … Read More »
Starting this month I am adding a monthly post about six things that are currently on my mind. They can be things I have, things I wish to have or just something I currently find interesting.
As my blog generally focuses on perfume bottles I have collected, I rarely get to write about a number of samples that come to me by one means or another. My Monthly Six gives me a place to talk about some of the perfumes or objects I may not end up collecting, but nonetheless they have my attention.
So here goes, my first six, for December 2012:
1: Quintessentially Perfume
This is the book I am currently reading and it comes from a line of books Quintessentially Publishing LTD have published on a range of topics linked to lifestyle, fashion and art. Their next publication will be called Q Gentlemen, which is a luxury guidebook for the sartorially elegant man. Quintessentially Perfume contains a superb foreword written by Roja Dove and chapters dedicated to the history of perfume, creative milestones, current trends and candid discussions with many of the world’s most influential men and women in perfume today. It makes excellent summer reading for any perfume lover.
2: Divine … Read More »
My adventure in the south of France began in Nice, one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Whilst the old town emits a sense of antiquity, the new town that spreads back inland from the Promenade des Anglais is a compact modern city. There is still a tranquil mood in the streets as feet shuffle along the pavement at a provincial pace and the locals are generally warm and friendly people. As I had to make my way to Grasse my stop in Nice was brief. From Nice to Grasse I had two options; I could take a bus for 1 euro or a taxi would cost 110 euro (Sunday fares attract an additional tariff). Reason told me I should save my money for perfume shopping and before I boarded the Sunday morning bus to Grasse I had all of Saturday to explore the Riviera town for scented treasure.
After a croissant and espresso in the old town, I walked through the weekend market stalls. Stalls were filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and every conceivable product made from olives. One stall I passed glowed with the purple hue of lavender sprigs, a symbol of Provence. Earlier in the … Read More »
Tom Ford Noir is the fourth signature fragrance launched by the American designer for his male clientele. If his first men’s fragrance Tom Ford for Men reintroduced the fashion codes of the late 1970s male through a balanced layering of sporty citrus and masculine woody lichens, Tom Ford Noir skips a generation and reminds me of the masculine fragrances of the early 1990s. This era of masculine scent was signed with oriental notes of spices, woods and exotic resins. Sadly by the end of the decade the style was put to rest by a tidal wave of fresh watery colognes such as L’Eau D’Issey in 1994 and Acqua di Gio in 1996. As a child of the 90’s the first time I smelt Tom Ford Noir my teenage life literally flashed before me. Noir brought back memories of Chanel’s Egoiste, Guerlain’s Habit Rouge, Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium and all those fashion magazines my older sister used to buy with their peel and sniff perfume advertisements. Tom Ford describes Noir as his most personal fragrance yet. He describes a man that is an “urbane sophisticate who the world gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous, private man they don’t”. I can’t help … Read More »
Keiko Mecheri is the Japanese American artist behind Les Parfums Keiko Mecheri. I met her briefly in September at Pitti Fragranze in Florence. I had seen her perfumes during my travels around the world but I often brushed over them, mistakenly thinking the range would be too feminine for my tastes. This preconception was perhaps influenced by the fact that her most talked about perfume was the feminine Loukhoum, a gourmand rose inspired by Turkish delight. I had always admired the aesthetic quality of the range, which is presented in a faceted black or clear glass flacon and bakelite cap. Meeting the artist drew me away from the assumption I would not find something for myself and I began to explore her range of eau de parfums. I was one of many vying for her attention that day at Pitti so my question to Keiko was brief. I loved the look of the recently launched Bespoke Collection and I asked her to recommend something for a male client. She talked with me about Cuir Fauve and Vetiver Velours from her Bespoke Collection. Keiko explained the collection contained rare oud wood but she wanted to stay clear of using the word … Read More »
The word perfume and its Latin root per fumum are filled with thoughts of the ancient world of humans and the rituals they enacted to celebrate life and the divine. Biblical incense made from precious resins and roses of the Middle East, referred to as the flower of prophet Muhammad hold a deeper meaning for men and women, their use in perfumery becoming more than simply the creation of something that smells good but a way of connecting to a spiritual realm. Earlier this year Guerlain launched a series of exclusive perfumes called Les Deserts d’Orient, which celebrate this mystical connection. The line is exclusive in the sense that the perfumes are only sold in select Guerlain boutiques in Europe, the U.K and the Middle East. The collection features oud or agarwood, a wood that has significant value in religious life throughout the Middle East and has now become a popular material used in western perfumery. Over the past two years oud has created a sensation in the niche perfume world to the point it now feels cliché. So why has Guerlain joined the party so late in the evening as the guests are beginning to leave? Guerlain’s Fragrance Creative … Read More »
Within an hour drive from Cannes is the old town of Grasse, nestled in the foothills overlooking the French Riviera. By the 18th century Grasse was the centre of the world’s perfume making industry. Acres of land were dedicated to the horticulture of tuberose, orange blossom, mimosa and the infamous jasmine grandiflorum and rose centifolia that is considered to be of the highest quality in the world. The soil and climate in Grasse make it the perfect environment for growing these flowers. Pairing this with centuries of experience and know-how, the resulting essences produced in Grasse make them the most coveted in the world. In World War II when France was occupied by Nazi Germany the Wertheimer family, Coco Chanel’s business partners for perfume, were living in exile due to their Jewish heritage. The partners had Grasse rose and jasmine essence smuggled out of France so they could continue production of Chanel No. 5 in America. They knew that even with Ernest Beaux’s legendary formula, using raw materials from anywhere but Grasse would undermine the product they wanted to sell. They believed this so strongly they risked lives in order to retrieve the precious stock.
Today Grasse is a shadow of … Read More »
There are often myths that surround the study of perfumery. Some people I have shared my interest with have commented, “Don’t you need a chemistry degree to do that?” and in some instances they are correct. To study at the prestigious ISIPCA perfume school in Versailles a degree in chemistry is a prerequisite. Otherwise generally speaking, perfumers are not chemists. Students of perfumery usually begin studying inside a school of one of the world’s large perfume manufacturers. Successful students are not only required to be accomplished composers; they must also memorize hundreds of raw materials and their characteristics. This style of learning is often tailored to the working environments of large manufacturers such as Givaudan, IFF or Firmenich and students graduate taking up positions within the parent company.
The challenge I faced was to find a learning path that was sufficiently in-depth and designed for perfume enthusiasts instead of industry professionals. Some years ago I enrolled in a distance-learning course with Perfumers World, an organization based in Bangkok. Their system of shipping students raw materials and the coursework is completed online suited my need at the time. This was my introduction to modern perfumery, giving me a basic understanding of raw … Read More »
White flowers add a signature to a perfume that is both loved and loathed. Jasmine is perhaps the most widely appreciated white flower but even jasmine has its share of haters. Tuberose has an even more distinctive signature. Although you can trace its use throughout the decades, it has become a popular note in contemporary perfume with names such as Prada and Mona di Orio creating fragrances centred on the late summer bulb. Tom Ford clearly wants to stay ahead of the trend launching four new perfumes that walk a floral path less taken. Of the four, for me, it was Jonquille de Nuit that stood above the others in this collection. I love the complexity of green and white florals, from shimmering muguet notes to buttery tuberose accords and jonquil perfumes are rare. But rare does not always translate into popularity. I was the only one in a group of three that liked Ford’s nocturnal jonquil, which is part of the Jardin Noir collection. This quartet of perfumes belongs to the designer’s Private Blend, a range Ford describes as, “my own scent laboratory; it’s where I have the ability to create very special, original fragrances that are unconstrained by … Read More »
Like Giorgio Armani’s clothing, the designer’s fragrances have an effortless appeal that makes them easy to wear, with an imbued Italian style. In the collection, the Armani Prive perfumes are dark and textured like a Collezione tuxedo jacket. The GA fragrances have a crispness mimicking the razor-sharp tailoring of an Armani business suit and Emporio Armani is a line for the active-sporty man. Recently the brand has focused its energies on producing perfumes for an affluent clientele. The Armani Prive line continues to grow with its most recent addition, La Femme Nacre packaged in bottles made with mother of pearl and an asking price of around 500 euros. Before this, at the turn of the century the brand had its sight fixed on its younger audience. Acqua di Gio had established itself as one of the best selling men’s fragrances to date and Emporio Armani, the brand’s youthful diffusion line was ready to launch a new perfume. The Loreal Group was behind the project with the help of senior perfumer at IFF, Carlos Benaim and in 2001 Emporio Armani White for Him & Her was created. At the time I was in my mid-20s and this was without a doubt … Read More »