"perfume is the art that makes memory speak" - Francis Kurkdjian

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. No 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 »

Hermes – Epice Marine

Posted on May 7th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Fresh, G - L. No Comments

Marine is an adjective that found its way into our perfume vocabulary during the early 1990s when it was used to describe the era’s refreshing watery, outdoorsy fragrances such as Cool Water and L’Eau d’Issey. Today the term has the same effect on perfume cognoscenti as throwing garlic onto vampires. Expect facial contortions and hissing noises. Why vampires have this reaction to garlic, I do not know, but the reason why many of today’s perfume obsessed are so adverse to this aquatic genre of perfumery is because most of us are still recovering from the thousands of Dihydromercenol and Calone laden fragrances that were launched over the past 15 years. On a side note, I’m curious to see if in another 15 years time, we will have the same seething reaction towards the popular men’s fragrances of today, which rely heavily on molecules such as Norlimbanol, Karanal and Boisambrene Forte for their woody-amber signature? But back to the marine theme- last year my curiosity was tweaked when Hermes announced the launch of a new fragrance called Epice Marine. Jean-Claude Ellena is one of my favourite perfumers and I had all confidence that the Nose of Hermes would not be presenting … Read More »

Talking Perfume with Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora Fragrance

Posted on March 16th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog, Creation. 4 comments

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 »

Grandiflora Fragrances – Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine

Posted on March 14th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Floral, M - R. 8 comments

* over three days, I am publishing posts about the recently launched perfumes by renowned Australian florist and author, Saskia Havekes. Her brand, Grandiflora, is based in Sydney and a couple of weeks ago, I spent time with her, listening to the story of how she created two perfumes, named after the perfumers who created them. Sandrine and Michel were created with great joy and also great sadness; Sandrine’s creator, perfumer Sandrine Videault, passed away in 2013. Yesterday I began publishing my own thoughts on these two new fragrances. My third blog post, which will be published tomorrow, is an interview with a very candid Saskia, who talked with me about her Scent Adventure into the world of perfumery.

Saskia Havekes now adds fragrance creator to her list of accomplishments. The florist and author had an idea to create a fragrance, which paid homage to her favourite flower and namesake of her business, (magnolia) Grandiflora. New to the world of perfumery, she talked about her idea with one of her clients, perfume expert Michael Edwards, who introduced Saskia to Sandrine Videault, a perfumer that studied under master perfumer, Edmond Roudnitska. Sandrine recalled her teacher saying, “a beautiful perfume is one which gives us … Read More »


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