Category: A Scented Blog
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
This week I have been writing about recently launched perfumes, created by Australian perfume house, Grandiflora Fragrance. If you don’t already know something about these perfumes, I recommend reading the posts I published about Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Magnolia Grandiflora Michel, before reading this interview with Saskia Havekes, the author and florist behind Sydney’s Grandiflora brand. Last month I visited Saskia at her address in Sydney’s Potts Point, and below is an excerpt of our conversation about her latest adventure into the world of perfumery.
WMSSL: Flowers to perfumes – it seems like a natural transition but really, it’s not that common right? Tell me how this new adventure started?
Saskia Havekes: I have probably only ever bought myself one fragrance, which was Antonia’s Flowers, many years ago. It was before I worked with flowers and I was living in New York. I found a beautiful little store down in the Village and I’ll never forget finding it, smelling it and thinking that it smelled like a flower shop. Antonia Bellanca was a florist and she lived in the Hampton’s. All of that to me at that age just seemed so glamorous and amazing. And it was such a simple bottle. I … Read More »
L’Artisan Parfumeur continues its exploration of fragrance as emotion with three new additions to the Explosions d’Emotions Collection that launched in 2013 with inaugural eau de parfums, Skin on Skin, Deliria and Amour Nocturne. Like the first series the perfume boxes are covered in textured paper embossed with motifs specific to each perfume. This time a radiant fuchsia colour has been chosen to differentiate these new additions from the founding three perfumes. The French house’s ‘perfumer-in-residence’, Bertrand Duchaufour takes the collection total to six and the new additions are set for release in May-June 2014. The first fragrance communicates the explosive feeling of joy and the second fragrance is about introspection. The last of the new trio explores the emotion of passion. When I spoke with the perfumer in late November he talked about the collection being a creative vehicle to challenge him “to do something out of the normal, out of what we smell already.” For Les Explosions d’Emotions, Bertrand said, “I wanted to explore new atmospheres, new spheres of scent, new accords and new fragrances. It is supposed to be something completely different, not outrageous but something provocative.” True to his vision, these new fragrances are not outrageous in … Read More »
For my first blog post of 2014 I wanted to write about Neela Vermeire Creations, a collection of perfumes that pay homage to Creator, Neela Vermeire’s birthplace, India. After spending the past three weeks travelling in India, I feel more connected to these perfumes having experienced India’s diverse smellscape firsthand, even though I have been a fan and follower of Neela since we first met in 2012. I was introduced to Neela, a Paris-based perfume lover turned perfume entrepreneur in Florence, Italy where she was presenting her collection at the annual perfume exposition, Pitti Fragranze. To realize her vision Neela worked with two creatives, both leaders in their respective fields. The first was Bertrand Duchaufour, a French perfumer who needs no introduction to devotees of niche perfumes. As the ‘nose’ behind Neela’s fragrances, Bertrand combined a rich palette of exquisite notes, a true reflection of the perfumer’s modus operandi; innovative perfumes built with the most exceptional raw materials. The other creative Neela worked with was perfume bottle designer Pierre Dinand. Pierre has designed perfume bottles for fashion houses such as Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein. Chances are, if you have worn perfume in the past fifty … Read More »