When the current perfume fever originally spiked around 2002 or so, one of the first aspects of new perfumes that spiked in tandem, was their sugar content. Perfumes were like bon bons, and no doubt this was mostly due to the success of Angel, and the whole family of gourmands generally, but the effect was sometimes…sticky.
Like everyone else I read the Guide and remember Luca Turin blaming a good deal of the candy floss on ethyl maltol, which is evidently a fairly inexpensive synthetic, that powered his favorite Vanilia as well as Angel. Ethyl maltol was everywhere in those days. Continue reading
I spent Saturday in exotic company, my three companions were the Guerlains Rose Nacre du Desert, Songe d’un Bois d’Ete, and Encens Mythique. They were startling to encounter because they all do what Guerlians used to do, namely last, have a sillage, and project an air of luxury. A few posters on line have called this series Guerlain doing Montale, but I bet these three were Guerlain doing Amouage, and possibly doing Amouage better than Amouage does itself. Continue reading
The oddity of body chemistry is one of those imponderables that never cease to amaze me. We all know the scenario by now, how two people can try on the same perfume and it will coalesce into a beautiful flower arrangement on one wearer’s skin, and devolve on the other’s, into a rotten soggy mess. Hard to believe, but it does happen.
Sometimes the quality of the perfume is at fault. If a formula is harsh or thin, then skin will not save it. Conversely, even well made scents can fall apart on an epidermis like an under rehearsed ballet on stage. Chandler Burr in The Perfect Scent laments the formulation of fragrances to perform best on paper, which isn’t very useful, he remarks – unless you are made of paper. Continue reading
There is something internally subversive about the productions of Tom Ford. He is so charming and so practiced in the seduction techniques he uses on his public that it is almost camp. Every Tom Ford perfume has something about its packaging and promotion that recalls a weekend in one of those resorts popular with swingers in the 1970’s; about equal parts chic and louche, all black toilets, black marble counters and black bidets, so much so that it sometimes tips over into (I hope) unintentional self-parody. Continue reading
Why are so many new perfumes failing to become staples in the public’s wardrobe? It’s a good question. We still wear perfumes that are quite old by the estimation of the Industry. D&G’s Light Blue came out in 2001, Dior’s J’Adore in 1999, Lolita Lempicka in 1997 – you see what I mean.
And it’s not as though things are vastly more au courant on the other side of the pond. Frenchwomen still wear Thierry Mugler’s Angel 1992, or Victor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb 2005. In fact there weren’t many I could find on bestseller lists younger than three years. Will things like Wonderstruck or Someday survive till next year or 2014? Sensuous in the US, a 2008 Estee Lauder release, and in France Idylle from Guerlain in 2009, might manage a few more seasons in the sun. Does it take that long for us to make up our minds that we really really like something? Or is it that we are now inundated with product and have a hard time filtering the perfume deluge? Are we so busy bailing out our little dinghies on the ocean of scent that we can hardly tell what we’re smelling before we heave it overboard? Continue reading