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

P Frapin & Cie – Nevermore

Posted on August 13th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, My Collection, Woods. 3 comments

Perfume is a relatively new venture for Frapin, one of the great cognac making families of France. Cognac has been in the family blood for more than twenty generations and Frapin’s first cognacs date back to the 13th century. In 2002 Beatrice Cointreau, a family descendent, began exploring the relationship between scent and cognac making. Five years later she launched the house’s first perfume. Today Frapin has nine perfumes, which are in the care of Parisian entrepreneur David Frossard. Frossard came to Frapin with a wealth of experience in the niche perfume industry and under his business and creative direction, Frapin continues to evolve. Frossard follows the brand’s founding values and like a fine cognac, Frapin’s perfumes are produced in small quantities from ingredients of a high caliber as are the perfumers Frossard chooses to work with. Craftsmanship and innovation rate highly and each perfume tells a different story linked in some way to cognac and spirits. Terre de Sarment draws from Frapin’s own story and Speakeasy conjures imagery of a smoky 1920s bar.

This winter I have been wearing the perfume Frapin launched last year called Nevermore. Like garden mulch I love the way rose fragrances protect and insulate the skin … Read More »

Aesop – Marrakech Intense Eau de Toilette & Parfum

Posted on July 29th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Oriental, Woods. 2 comments

Aesop is undeniably one of Australia’s most successful exports in the beauty industry. When Melbourne hairdresser Dennis Paphitis founded Aesop in 1987, he began by mixing essential oils into his colour treatments. He believed the concept could be taken further and he employed the help of a chemist to formulate a simple line of hair and body products. The premise of his line was the same, using fewer but better quality botanical ingredients. This ethos still holds true and today the brand is renowned for its natural grooming products, simple design aesthetics and unique retail spaces. Aesop is a praiseworthy example of how successful small businesses can grow into global brands without losing the unique identity they were founded on. I remember Aesop’s first retail store, which opened in 2004, the same year I moved to Melbourne from New Zealand. It was around the corner from my apartment in St Kilda. Sandwiched between a bakery and The Prince of Wales pub, I remember the long corridor-like store getting attention from pedestrians and weekend brunchers. The store’s employees would leave an aromatic hand balm tester just outside their door and a scent trail of essential oils wafting down Carlisle Street drew … Read More »

Amouage – Opus IX

Posted on July 22nd, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Oriental, Woods. No Comments

Amouage’s Library Collection is Christopher Chong at his most experimental. When I interviewed him in Sydney last year he described the collection as being his “couture.” As Amouage’s Creative Director of nine years, Christopher recently adjusted the brand’s compass and all new perfumes now include a more personal narrative. The next “cycle” emerged last year with the release of Journey Man and Journey Woman, and Opus IX is the first Library Collection perfume to imbibe the brand’s new spirit. Naturally my interest was piqued to smell Amouage couture reborn.

To create Opus IX, Christopher collaborated with Firmenich perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Pierre Negrin. Both perfumers come with impressive resumes and Negrin is no stranger to the brand having engineered a number of Amouage perfumes prior to Opus IX. This ninth Opus draws from Christopher’s passion for Opera. It is an art form that influenced Christopher’s perfumes before the Journey duo; the former student of opera dedicated Honour Woman to Madama Butterfly. The way Amouage perfumes are constructed could also be described as operatic with their rhythmic olfactory punctuation that separates notes into clearly defined scenes. Linear is not part of the Amouage vocabulary. The story of Opus IX is told in three scenes that form classic head, heart … Read More »

Arquiste – L’Etrog Acqua

Posted on April 19th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Fresh, My Collection. 6 comments

In April 2013 I published my first post about Arquiste perfumes, which was a review of L’Etrog, a perfume from the brand’s initial collection. Arquiste’s founder, Carlos Huber, was in Australia at the time and we talked about his brand’s story. Story telling is one of the elements I love about what Carlos does. Through the medium of modern perfumery, each Arquiste perfume takes its wearer on a journey through space and time. L’Etrog was set in the Mediterranean amongst the citron groves of medieval Calabria. The year was 1175. Collaborating with Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier, two of Givaudan’s leading perfumers, Carlos made a perfume about the annual harvest of Calabrese citron fruit. It is a region of Italy that is famous for the quality of citrus fruit it produces. Bergamot from Calabria is of particular importance to the perfume industry. Using a number of Italian citrus oils, Arquiste’s L’Etrog showcased the natural beauty of this region. During these medieval harvests, farmers built temporary cabins out of branches and palm fronds. Here they slept before rising early in the morning to collect the harvest fruit. L’Etrog used woody notes to reference the palm frond cabins and a novel date fruit accord referenced a … Read More »

Hermes – Cuir d’Ange

Posted on April 14th, by What Men Should Smell Like in G - L, Woods. 8 comments

A decade on, Jean-Claude Ellena continues his work as Perfumer of Hermes. His mandate from the luxury French brand has always been to launch a new scent when he feels ready. In the time-pressured world of fashion and beauty, it is unusual for perfumers to have this level of freedom in their work. Cuir d’Ange is the 11th Hermessence perfume. Speaking with press last year when the perfume launched, Jean-Claude Ellena spoke about it being an idea he developed over a period of 10 years. When he was recruited in 2004, he visited a room in the Hermes atelier where leather is laid out in storage. It is a place where precious hides, tanned by master tanners, are stored in a controlled environment. Here they await transformation into some of the world’s finest leathergoods. He was enamoured by the scent of the tanned leather, which to his surprise smelled of flowers. Ellena often draws parallels between his work and the work of other artists. On this occasion, he drew a link to the world of literature and the words of writer Jean Giono, who in his autobiography, described his father working in his cobbler’s workshop, “making shoes in angel leather … Read More »


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