Category: A Scented Blog
Bringing bygone brands back to life is not a new concept in fashion and beauty. Many leading designer names belong to individuals who departed the world long ago. In perfumery, Frapin (1270), Lubin (1798), Grossmith (1835) and Oriza L. Legrand (1720) are a few recent examples of brands that have been resuscitated under new management.
Last year I met Nicolas Chabot, the entrepreneur responsible for the revival of Le Galion, a perfume house that was founded in Paris at the height of the city’s Art Deco period. Le Galion was hugely successful for many decades but the house inconspicuously dissolved into the fabric of history when Le Galion’s owner, Paul Vacher, passed away in the late 1970s. Vacher was one of the 20th century’s most talented perfumers and despite his Le Galion perfumes barely surviving into the 21st century; his name lived on through his commissions for some of France’s most famous couturiers. Arpege (1927) by Lanvin and Miss Dior (1947) by Christian Dior are his most celebrated commercial successes.
To awaken what Nicolas described as being a sleeping beauty, he selected nine fragrances from Le Galion’s archives to be relaunched using formulas he acquired in the sale of the brand and firsthand … Read More »
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 »
Launching this weekend at Esxence, Milan’s annual niche fragrance event, Pichola is the sixth perfume from Neela Vermeire Creations. Last year I interviewed Paris-based Neela. We talked about the perfume house she founded in 2012 that is an olfactory celebration of her Indian heritage and culture. Working with French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, Neela tells India’s rich and complex story by dedicating each fragrance to a particular time or place that has inspired her. For this latest perfume, the inspiration came to Neela when she attended a wedding anniversary in Udaipur nearly two years ago. I didn’t attend Esxence this year, so Neela kindly sent me a sample of Pichola and we exchanged some words so that I could delve deeper into the story behind her latest creation.
Pichola is everything I expect from Neela Vermeire Creations. Working with Bertrand, the pair has created a strong olfactory identity for Neela’s brand. When I interviewed Bertrand about his work as L’Artisan Parfumeur’s resident perfumer, he told me that he does not accept design requests from clients if they impose budget restrictions on the formula. Although Bertrand uses synthetic ingredients in all of his work, an aesthetic necessity of modern perfumery, I smell a lot of … Read More »
This week at Esxence in Milan, newcomer Malbrum Parfums will unveil three new fragrances titled Volume 1. Founded in Norway by entrepreneur and scent artist, B. Kristian Malbrum, the collection is an interesting mix of Kristian’s unique Nordic style and French perfumer Delphine Thierry’s classically trained nose for detail and construction. I first met Kristian through Facebook. Since then, we have exchanged the occasional message over the months, discussing raw materials. At the start of the year he messaged me to say his first collection was complete and he asked if I would like to be among the first people to sample his finished work. Knowing he created his perfumes in collaboration with Delphine Thierry, I was naturally curious. I’m a big fan of the fragrances she created for Lubin and Rive Sud Interior. After smelling the Malbrum perfumes and Skyping with Kristian this weekend, we both agreed that his fragrances have Delphine’s signature as a perfumer. I also think Kristian’s rogue influence creates interesting dynamics in all three perfumes, which is one of the reasons why I like his collection so much.
Kristian’s interest in perfume began at the age of 8, when he convinced his grandmother to take him to a … Read More »
Almost a year and a half has past since I’ve written anything about Puredistance, one of Netherland’s premier niche perfume houses. This is because the brand has been quietly working on a new fragrance. In previous posts I interviewed Puredistance founder, Jan Ewoud Vos, and I explored his collection of Pure Perfume Extraits. My favourite is Puredistance M, a spicy leather-chypre created in collaboration with perfume guru Roja Dove. In late 2013 I was part of a group of bloggers invited to write about the launch of Puredistance BLACK. Earlier this month I received another package of precious cargo from Puredistance HQ containing the result of their past years work – Puredistance WHITE. The new fragrance will be previewed this week at Esxence in Milan ahead of the perfume’s official launch on April 20.
Great design often takes time and in this fast-paced world we live in, time is a luxury that many brands are willing to sacrifice. Luxury is at the core of the Puredistance ethos. Together with perfumer Antoine Lie, they worked for a year to refine and perfect the formula for WHITE. Lie is also the engineer behind Puredistance BLACK, so for me it is interesting to smell the two together … Read More »
Last year when Creed launched its new Acqua Originale collection of fragrances in Australia, I had the opportunity to speak with Erwin Creed who was in Sydney for the collection’s launch. We spoke about his role in the family business, a business that spans seven generations, going back to the mid 18th century. With perfume being the family’s primary activity, Erwin’s father, Olivier Creed currently holds the title of Creed’s Master Perfumer. Eventually this title will pass to Erwin, who currently oversees global distribution of his family’s perfumes. Although he has already authored perfumes for Creed, Erwin’s perfumer training is ongoing. He says he needs to learn how to think like his father, to understand how he creates perfumes. There is no fixed timeline for Erwin to succeed his father and his current training involves interning with a variety of perfume companies to learn the various aspects of his father’s role.
Asked to describe Creed in three words, he smiles and says decisively, “family, respect and quality.” Erwin goes on to say that quality of the raw materials Creed uses is very important. Part of his training is learning about different distillation processes and quality control so he can safe guard the … 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 »
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 »