Sunday, 27 April 2014

Jack Eau de Parfum (Richard E Grant) Review

Jack opens with a sparklingly tart citrus accord with an emphasis on the green grapefruit scent recalling Methyl Pamplemousse. Balancing the hesperidic head is the ambery sweetness of Ambrox (vel.sim.), which material also serves to introduce the perfume’s woody theme: Initially green with slight earthy-spicy overtones, the more sombre facets of vetiver are developed in the fond where the perfume takes on a predominantly dry, lightly smoked character. Thus it effectively remains with some soft musk(s) only really becoming noticeable at the very tail end.
The absence of any obvious floral components renders Richard E Grant’s début perfume somewhat austere, and whilst the cheery opening is sure to have broad appeal, those purchasing the scent after a quick sniff in-store may ultimately be caught unawares by its volte-face.

Nose: Alienor Massenet
House: Richard E Grant
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): lime, cannabis, mandarin orange, cloves, pepper nutmeg, agarwood (oud), vetiver, white musk, tobacco, olibanum.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Silver Iris Review

Lurking behind the tonka-Ambrox-berry-musk blackout curtain, whose jammy, candied sweetness enters Maltol territory, is actually a rather substantial (and attractive) green iris accord.

Nose: Jérôme Epinette, 
House: Atelier Cologne
Release date: 2013
Notes (per Fragrantica): tangerine, pink pepper blackcurrant, mimosa, violet leaf, iris, patchouli, white amber, musk. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Jour d'Hermès (EdP) Review

An abstracted floral that feels as if it were pulled straight from Plato’s realm of the ἰδέα, Jour d’Hermès references the olfactive Form of flowers without bringing a single one to full realisation.
Apparent through much of the perfume’s development is the tart, fruity-green scent of Gardenol (Styralyl Acetate). Although the material is a key component in re-creating the smell of gardenia, when afforded a more prominent role, as here, it in fact resembles most closely rhubarb. Adding to the somewhat acerbic top is a squeeze of lemon and, depending on how one slices the composition, this serves to broaden the range of floral impressions: thus, for example, in tandem with the sweet muguet complex it conjures the Shade of magnolia (less perhaps, the clovey nuance). There is, naturally, more than a hint of rose floating in the mix, as well perhaps a suggestion of jasmine. One could continue with this exercise but ultimately, it all becomes a bit too academic. And therein lies the rub:
Jour d’Hermès is an unimpeachably well-blended fragrance with all the myriad floral components singing in concert and integrating perfectly with the woodsy-musky-lactonic fond. But paradoxically, in saying everything all at one, it ends up saying not very much at all.

Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena
House: Hermès
Release date: 2012
Notes (per Fragrantica): none

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Laine de Verre Review

With Laine de Verre, Mssrs. Lutens and Sheldrake remain at the nexus of functional and fine fragrance in their meditation on ‘clean’. Where the original L’Eau evoked the scent of a hot iron and freshly laundered linen, the latest addition takes us in the direction of personal hygiene products as are familiar from the morning routine.
After a mentholic, pepperminty opening whose icy freshness is a quotation from mouthwash, the fragrance is overtaken by a blend of aliphatic aldehydes (esp. C-12 MNA) that are zingy, metallic and waxy, and responsible for a textbook ‘soapy’ accord. In the background, citric notes combine with floral ingredients like Geraniol to give a vague impression of rose, but it’s a rose that’s been run through the wash so many times as to loose all its colour and become almost indistinguishable from the anonymous, musky base.

Nose: Christopher Sheldrake
House: Serge Lutens
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): Citruses, aldehydes, musks.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sous le Toit de Paris Review

Initially aromatic-green-hesperidic, Sous le Toit de Paris dries down to a powdery, ionone-lite impression of violet flower with coumarin/tonka like sweetness. Search as I might though, there’s nary a trace of leather to be found.

Nose: Ralf Schwieger
House: Atelier Cologne
Release date: 2012
Notes (per Fragrantica): Neroli, bergamot, bitter orange, violet leaf, african geranium, haitian vetiver, tonka bean, musk, leather.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Que Sais-Je ? Review

[Prologue: A friend recently sent me a package of samples, among which was an unnamed ‘mystery’ vial. While sniffing said perfume, I scribbled down the following impressions: 
                 vintage – well macerated, chypré, rose-jasmine-florals, leather, fruity (peachy-
                 apple), spicy, green, amber, civety / animalic, Patou (?). 
The jus, it turns out, is Patou’s Que Sais-Je ? extrait, a fragrance first launched in 1925, but re-released in the early ‘80s. This is a review of the latter.]

A fruity Chypre in the classical French mould, Que Sais-Je ? develops the fuzzy peach theme of Mitsouko into a full-on nectarious centrepiece. Arranged about this is an extravagant floral accord dominated by rose and jasmine, the chromatic intensity of which is heightened by a honeyed / ambery sweetness together with light spices. As the perfume develops however, the frivolous fruitiness cedes to a leather-like dryness that’s underscored by some distinctly animalic (read: fecal) tones. Very Patou.

Nose: Henri Almeras (original); Jean Kerleo (re-issue)
House: Jean Patou
Release date: 1925
Notes (per Fragrantica): Hazelnut, honey, peach.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Bois Blonds Review

Although Bois Blonds eventually delivers on its promise, it does so with such a lack of enthusiasm as to seem almost grudging.
The head consists of an attractive arrangement of peppery citrus that’s bright without being blindingly so. There follows in quick succession however, an agrestic heart-accord, whose raw, green-herbal odour (redolent of linalyl acetate) overwhelms any subtleties of the vetiver. Only once the perfume has well developed do the titular bois blonds make their presence felt in the form of a wan, woody-musk fond. 

Nose: Jérôme Epinette
House: Atelier Cologne
Release date: 2010
Notes (per Fragrantica): neroli, pink pepper, orange blossom, incense, wood notes, musk, vetiver.