Five Audacious Scents for Autumn. Exclusives – Shy Mimosa Perfumery, Clifton, Bristol.

As the mornings get crisper and cooler, with the crunch of leaves underfoot; and that certain something in the air that evokes nostalgia and long lost love, one knows that Autumn has arrived.
A time of great beauty – a season of deep colour and emotion, a bittersweet journey of the joy of now and the wistful presence of ghosts past. Nowhere is this more beautifully encapsulated than in nature and its perfumes.
If you are seeking a perfect scent for the Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with an air of exclusivity and individualism there is a hidden gem of a boutique with its door ajar waiting to be found ….

 

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Situated in a chic upmarket suburb of Bristol, this European style ‘Bijou’ Perfumery is unique in its presentation and curation. Many of the Artisan and Niche Creations here are not available anywhere else in the UK, giving the Independents of London a serious run for their money. Its owner Maria, is unassuming, knowledgeable and modestly passionate about her impressive collection of European Perfumes.
Here are five unobvious scent choices for wearably refined Autumn usage – each with a unique characteristic, that ooze charm, style and grace.

 

‘Rituale’ by Mendittorosa Odori D’Anima
( UK Exclusive to Shy Mimosa. £175 for 100ml Extrait de Parfum )

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A smooth, strange, ethereal balm that envelops the skin. Uber refined and complex, with evocations of red wine, sweet pea, and odd flashes of ambery resins. Conjures the intangible beauty of Autumn, that certain something you just can’t quite put your finger on.
An exceptional masterpiece of liquid poetry from Italian Artisan Perfumer Stefania Squeglia inspired by the power and energy of Volcanic Craters.

Notes Include : Italian Bergamot, Mandarin, Aldehydes,Blackberry, Jasmine, Narcissus, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Rose, Amberwood, Beeswax, Hyraceum, Musk.

 

 

‘Aesthete’ by Le Galion ( 100ml Eau de Parfum, £125. )

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The impression of soft vintage leather with Incense, Tobacco and Hay notes. A smooth Vanilla and transparent Musk rounding things off with suave assurance. A nod to the prestigious house of Le Galions illustrious past from its foundings in 1936, with one foot firmly in the contemporary. The Old world meets New in an androgynous and mischievous style.
Perfect for October strolls through woodland wearing tweed.
Notes Include : Artemisia, Incense, Saffron, Agarwood, Castoreum, Guaiac, Jasmine, Leather,Santal, Vanilla, Musk.

 

 

‘Orlando’ by Jardins D’Ecrivains ( UK Exclusive to Shy Mimosa – £85, 100ml Edp )

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Perhaps one of the most intriguing brands stocked at Shy Mimosa is Jardins D’Ecrivains. Concieved when Perfumer Anais Beguine combined her two life passions – gardens and literature. It is no surprise that when two art forms collide in inspiration the results are usually rather splendid. This is certainly no exception.

Alongside ‘Wilde’, ‘Marlowe’, and ‘Junky’ amongst others sits ‘Orlando’, inspired by the infamous fantasy novel by Virginia Woolf where her androgynous protagonist has  eternal youth. Like many of Woolfs themes, this Perfume is adult, challenging, sensuous, and incredibly addictive. Although not listed in the notes, this has a beautifully feral Civet facet which is animalic, genderless and hypnotic. This is the type of scent, like Guerlains Jicky (1889) and Vol de Nuit (1933) before it, that growls and purrs intermittently, somewhere between an alley cat and a very dangerous Tiger. An amazing scent for when the temperature drops and the night air only serves to extend the diffusive nature of this androgynous and compelling beast.

Notes Include :Orange, Pink Pepper, Amber, Cloves, Patchouli, Balsam of Peru, Musk, Wood of Gaiac.

 

 

‘Bois D’Iris’ by Daniel Josier ( UK Exclusive to Shy Mimosa. £95, 100ml Edp )

 

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As soft as Autumn rain, as plush as a lovers skin, as enigmatic as the turning of seasons – this is a quiet, whispering beauty. Hard to define in clear descriptives, a perfume that bestows a certain silent haughtiness upon its wearer. Very opulent without screaming its presence, more Grace Kelly than Liz Taylor if that makes sense. An exercise in ‘less is more’ and a subtle head turner. Beautiful.

Notes Include :
Nutmeg, Pine, Sage, Iris, Wood Chord, Amber, Musk, Vetiver.

 

 

‘Berlin Im Winter’ by Baruti ( £98 for 30ml Extrait )

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Perfumer Spyros Drosopoulos creates something utterly beguiling here with an insanely eccentric creation that is hard to vocalise. It is easier to share in the abstract : it smells monochrome, photographic, grainy, sinister, and vintage. This is shady characters in rainy backstreets, PVC Flasher Macs in unexpected alleyways. If this was music it would be an obscure Leonard Cohen B Side or perhaps Avante Garde dissonance. There is a damp fungal mushroomy element to this, alongside an inky Xerox infused darkness.
Not for the fainthearted or the optimistic, this is dark November Evenings with fog, mist, iced rain, and the scent of the barrel of a smoking gun. Film Noir captured in liquid form at its edgiest.

I love this.
Notes Include : Amber, Cassis, Frankincense (Oman), Iris, Irish Coffee, Lavender (Greece), Mastic Oil (Chios), Myrrh, NoOud, Plum, Rose (Greece).

 

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Maria at Shy Mimosa Perfumery would love to share and guide you through her bewitching collection of Artisan Perfume with you at :

Shy Mimosa, 42B The Mall, Clifton Village, Bristol, BS8 4JG

Store Opening Times : Tuesday – Saturday: 11.00 – 17.00

 

All text and Photographs Copyright 2017, Tim Joshua Nicholson.

 

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Lush : Gorilla Perfumes Volume IV – A Review.

 

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Rentless
Cardamom Coffee
What would Love do?
Amelie Mae
I’m Home

A difficult and brave balancing act between the strain of commercial profitability, and the freedom of a left of centre intellectualised cult perfume brand aspiring to be art.

 

Unless you are anosmic ( or an eight year old girl ), most folk hurry past the challenging scent of Lush stores across the world, as the heady odour of high octane olfactory theatrics billows unapologeticly out of its kooky open doors. Even for those brave enough to enter into this peculiar psychadelic kingdom of soaps, strange wobbling intimate jellies, and glitter infused bath bombs, the overpowering  waft can still be too much.
You then have to do battle with the overly enthused bouncy ball army of staff who unfortunately cannot be avoided and have been programmed to make statements that rope you into a conversation you never ever want to have.
This is the mountain that not only the customer has to climb, but ironically, the mountain that Lush have created for themselves in order to sell a rather challenging set of fragrances that are neither for the faint hearted or the uninitiated to the world of niche or indie Perfume. These compositions are obscure, intellectual, head strong, that go intentionally against the grain; as the name Gorilla suggests, it was chosen as a spiky play on words – like Guerilla Warfare : rebellious, punky and riotous.
Being brutally honest, on first inhaltion, I am not sure what to think of many of these  eccentric scents; some are deliciously edible in a Heston Blumethal kind of way ( clashing ingredients – awesome result ); others seem purposely discordant and dissonant as if they are spoiling for a fight; and there are a few which are super girly in an unorthodox but wearable way .

 
I am assuming that the Perfumer, set out to do what all the most creative of people do, which is to create from the heart and soul with little regard to what people will think of the finished artefact. Each Perfume having a very solid muse, story or background to them, often intensely personal.
Having followed the progress of Lush Scent over the years, I feel they are becoming more adventurous and even less mainstream as time marches on, with the odd exception.
The latest Release – Volume IV – is a clever and savvy combination of three Gourmandes, a Green Floral and one that defies Categorisation. Whilst sticking to their roots, Lush seem to be also embracing the public taste for all things sweet – but with their own take and individualistic twist.

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‘Amelie Mae’

An uber sticky and jammy delicacy with lusciously sweet nuances of raspberry and rose, and caramelised undertones which balance well with the upper floral notes which are meadowy and optimistic. A scent that is a touch retro and perhaps has a nod to the rustic – imagine ‘Cider with Rosie’ except she’s been smoking weed and is giggling, red faced, blouse unbuttoned and slightly suggestive. The most accessible of the collection and very lovely indeed.

 

‘Cardamom Coffee’
The second most user friendly new creation in the collection: does exactly what it says on the tin.  A supremely well blended scent that I suspect will become a real favourite with Lush Afficiondos as well as the beauty press and beyond. Warm, friendly, bright and happy – this radiates a positive glow, not unlike Ready Brek. A perfect perfume for Autumn and Winter with its golden blend of spice and gourmand notes. There is Rose and Oudh in here but it is so masterfully blended that these notes become part of the whole. Cardamom has been used widely in perfumery in the last twenty years but not as a predominant note in such a starring role : balanced nicely with a toasty roasty Coffee facet – and I suspect – a touch of  Vetiver amongst other secret olfactory flourishes, makes this radiate and envelop the senses like a familiar embrace from someone you really like. A cult classic in the making is a distinct possibility. Best described as less urinous distant relative  of Muglers A*Men but done with panache and more style.

 

‘What Would Love Do ?
The least outrageous of the collection – a pleasant little floral with bright citrus flourishes and green, slightly fizzy undertones. I struggle to elaborate on this as it is a straight up wearable ‘nice’ kind of scent that fails to excite or tantalise the senses.
Maybe one for the younger, less adventurous perfume user that wants a demure flower shop fragrance with a bit of sherberty goodness.

 

‘Rentless’
Like all Lush Perfumes, ‘Rentless’ has a backstory, a muse, a starting point for its inspiration. And this is where I feel that given a chance, non Lush fans would begin to see that the creative Perfumery process going on here really has its roots as an art form.
This particular Scent was inspired by a Gentlemen in Los Angeles that had no fixed abode and decided to gut out and refurbish an old glass water tank that he would lovingly and painstakingly make his home. He may have been seen as homeless, but his perspective was that he was never, ever homeless but merely rentless.
I love the story behind this, but struggle to see the connection between the perfume notes and the stories’ concept. The main notes are an earthy rounded Patchouli, playing alongside Labdanum ( a deep amber coloured sticky resin that imparts a deep golden dry and warm hue to a Perfume ). The touch of Grapefruit struggles to compete with the heavier facets and is not that detectable. These bombastic and very high quality raw ingredients are matched with a delicious Tonka Bean element which adds smoothness, a little sweetness and an aura of almonds. Tonka – to some noses – can also have an olfactory element of freshly mown hay.
This Perfume is very agreeable indeed but a little murky and two dimensional – perhaps intentional – but without any real top notes and intrigue, it is oddly safe considering its outlandish backstory. Certainly not mainstream, but a little flat.

 

‘I’m Home’
This is more challenging as a composition from the outset. It’s evocation of what it means to return safely into your own space, through the familiarity of ones own front door, with its subtle aromas of baking and reassuring scents of home. As with all Gorilla Perfumes, this is not quite as it seems and dependent on skin type can diffuse quite enigmaticly on different people.
It definitely has a strong gourmand feel to it, but cleverly hasn’t got the obvious sugary confections of mainstream Perfumery. It leans more towards the bready-yeasty accord that has been previously found in some of the fiercely intelligent Serge Lutens Creations. I love that this Perfume defies all convention and just does its own thing, and very nicely it does it too.
There is an oddity about this which is hard to pinpoint, perhaps a dry musty dustiness which also evokes homely qualities. The addition of Benzoin and Columbian Cocoa add a rich weave to the proceedings and really creates a comforting and embracing scent. Alongside ‘Cardamom Coffee’ and ‘Amelie Mae’, this is another winning creation which stands out and stands proud. I really like the intrigue and seductive nature of this, as it pulls you towards its open arms and warm beating heart.

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( Pictured Above ) Some of the very lucky bloggers, vloggers, taste makers, movers and shakers that were invited very kindly by Sue Busto to the Lush Creative Showcase 2017 sniffing their way through the new collection of scents.

 

A collection of five fragrances that epitomise, evoke and suggest the concept of what it is that is ‘Home’.

 
Like all things artistic, the perception of these Perfumes will be subjective to each wearer; however, I sincerely hope that the unifying thread between all of them, is that the public will look beyond the glittery shimmer of pink unicorn dust and magic bubbles, to see that with a 20 year development history, Lush have succeeded in creating a sophisticated range of Art House Perfumes.
If the movies of Baz Luhrman and David Lynch met the music of David Bowie and Scott Walker then had a perfumed love child, Gorilla Perfumes would be a good approximation of the result.
You get the drift.

 

And what a lovely drift it is.

 

 

Gorilla Perfumes Collection Volume IV – Available now from £29
Online and Instore @ http://www.uklush.com

 

All text and photographs Copyright Tim Joshua Nicholson 2017.

 

 

‘Eglantier’ – Where two Seas collide under the pink of Nordic Eventide. (Nancy Meiland Parfums Review : Part II)

Perfume is often perceived as frivolous and mass produced, synthetic and throwaway – not unlike a 3 minute Pop song which has its moment then is swiftly forgotten. But with the quiet and steadily growing movement of niche and artisan Perfumery making a resurgence – the like having not been seen for nearly a hundred years – the concept of scent as a transient slice of Popular Culture is being challenged. And rightly so.

Even those of us with the most simplistic notions of what Perfumery entails will understand that it is as much steeped in Artistry as it is Science. The creation of a Perfume involves emotion, sensitivity, and perception, as well as a sharp mind for numbers, harmony and balance. Hard though it is for some to imagine, there are a small number of Creative Perfumers – who have a natural intuition and vision for impressionistic Olfactory creation; the ability to tell a story or conjure up a time and place through a palette of odours, the qualities not dissimilar to a Composer, a Writer, an Artist. Nancy Meiland is one of these rarified Artisans.

With her most recent Olfactory Offering ‘Eglantier’, she evokes the tale of a solitary beach at dusk, quiet under the pink dusty hues of a Nordic Twilight; a place where two Danish Seas collide, and when the eventide leaves the warm sands exposed for miles, brings us the most tranquil and emotive of scenes right before our eyes. Translating this into words is hard enough, but divining this into the complex and abstract area of liquid poetry is no mean feat. It would appear she has deftly achieved this with this Marine Floral – both enigmatic and with a certain fluidity, not unlike the rhythm of the waves and tidal ambiguities that inspired the perfume itself.

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There is a whisper of saltiness as the first impressions of this unorthodox scent disperses into the air : you are struck by its familiarity as much as you are its distant aloofness. Like the Ocean, it strikes a chord of deja vu but similarly it feels restless and forward looking : the unusual note of Rosehip creates a certain friction  that reflects this. The Neroli and Fleur D’Oranger strike an emotive chord and would seem to represent the soft pastel colours of the evening sky whilst  Jasmine and Tuberose add depth and natural nuances to the canvas.

Cardamom and Patchouli with their dynamic warmth are layered beautifully underneath, as if they are playing the role of the warm Sands glowing at the Oceans Edge.  Whilst Sandalwood and Vanilla evoke driftwood, and the sense of enveloping calm we often associate with the sights, sounds and sensations of being by the water.  Encens and Vetiver are excellent juxtaposed against the warmer tones, with their cool and earthy facets, suggesting the dark waters and uncertain undercurrents.

I love the way that this is a complex and in many ways contradictory composition. Just as you think you know where it is on your skin, it changes again – much like the movement of waves. A good Perfume I believe, should not dumb down or appear instantly : a good Perfume has an air of mystique, a touch of the enigmatic, intangible and intelligent.

This Marine Floral, with its push and pull of tidal emotion; its contrary facets of floral and salty, warm yet cool, of fading light and the calm of evening is a joy to behold. Never a Perfume to sit still, this wanders, suggests, ruminates, then evokes that certain something which is older and more elusive than ourselves – not perhaps the Sea itself, but the notion of time and tide.

That a bottle of liquid can contain such intangible alchemy and woven mystery, is exactly the reason why I love Perfume.

 

Eglantier 100ml Edp by Nancy Meiland, £105 available at  www.nancymeiland.com

 

‘A Very British Affair’ Nancy Meiland Parfums, A review: Part One

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I had the great pleasure of being co-tutored by Nancy several years ago on a Perfumery course, long before her steady – but Phoenix like – rise to the heights of  being one of Britains fast emerging and exceptionally talented new generation of female Perfumers. Like a true artist, Nancy’s olfactory creations breathe an authentic reflection of her personality and aura : they sparkle, shimmer and emote in a dreamy impressionistic style which is perfectly European and at times particularly British.

It was back in 2005 on a bitter February afternoon in St James, London in a grand Georgian drawing room around a vast table covered in exquisite perfumery materials that I first encountered Nancys warmth, charm and fiercely intelligent creativity. It was in this inspired environment with fairytale sized windows overlooking a silver hued park, beneath a snow filled sky, that I began my own journey with Perfumery. It became apparent that Nancy had worked in other expressive industries and that certain magic that true creatives have, ran inherently through her veins.

Fast forward twelve years and I am sat in my own studio space surrounded by alchemic potions and vials, blotters and notes regarding my own rather humble attempts at scent. More importantly, I have three rather beautiful perfumes in front of me to review that have been made with love, a deep understanding of her craft and an unrivalled authenticity by Nancy herself.  I am genuinely excited at the prospect of experiencing these and writing about them.

There are four creations currently in the Nancy Meiland Parfums line up : Eglantier, Illumine, Aquilaria and Rosier. I am reviewing two of these in Part One of this piece; first up is Illumine.

 

Illumine

A walk through a watercolour canvas, where the pale lemon light beneath distant stormy April Skies evokes a quintessentially English landscape.

Citrus, Herbal, White Floral, Spice and Plush Greens.

Illume-Bottle-and-box-NEWThis modern take on a Cologne has real depth and tenacity behind its fresh appeal and airy overture of damp verdant trees and leaves. An incredibly tight knit formation of rose tones, mint greens and ozone are hard to tell apart and this is where Nancys very deft hand and impressionistic style is so clever. Rather than singularly detectable ingredients, the notes become more than the sum of their parts and paint to my mind, a verdantly green English Vista in Springtime under billowing Charcoal Grey Clouds  – not unlike an olfactory breeze pushing through a splendid Constable painting.

You can smell the rushing water of the river and its reeds, the wild flowers in the far reaching meadows, the rain soaked grass and herb gardens of an English Country House, and like all excellent Perfume, that intangible something that reaches beyond the mortal. That certain abstract beauty that creates emotion, time and place. I absolutely adore Illumine for this reason.

On a lady, one imagines the mandarin, rose and floral notes smelling genteel, refined and delicate; on a gentleman, the herby absinthe, musk and vetiver would diffuse in a different slightly more sensual manner. Either way, this is a stunning and extremely wearable perfume for any gender or age, which speaks softly and never shouts.

 

Aquilaria

A forbidden scent of extreme beauty. Where East meets West in a head on collision of the carnal, of intense emotion and a deep spiritual olfactive swerve.

Turkish Rose Absolute, Black Pepper, Ceylon Tea, Resins, Oakmoss.

Aquilaria-bottle-and-boxNEWThe Aquilaria tree of East Asia produces a strange precious resin, which to those uninitiated is often known as Oudh. It is a deeply mysterious, smouldering and intense scent that is redolent of the exotic and burnished. It is a hard ingredient to blend well, especially to enhance or improve. Once again, it is down to Nancy and her deep olfactive verve that she has managed to not only improve on it, but has actually created the best Oudh based perfume I have ever smelt. It is utterly beguiling and bewitching.

It is at once warm and fruity, burnt woods and leather, creamy and languid, feminine and masculine simultaneously . This is no mean feat, and even has elements of an Oriental and a Chypre composition hanging deftly together like an intricate perfumed map of other worlds, underworlds, and fleetingly this world. This is a smoky, rich composition with versatility that would smell as wondrous on a cold winters day as it would exuding its raw sensuality in a hot languid environment.

The subtle use of Bergamot and black pepper create a little freshness without ever straying from the decadent glowing embers of this blissful scent. Turkish Rose absolute and Black Ceylon Tea deliver a cosy homely facet, whilst the clever use of Vanilla amongst the deep resinous balsams of Tolu, Labdanum and Oakmoss creates a strong harmony and balance of sweet against spice.

The result of this unorthodox approach to scent creation delivers an atmosphere of  peace, happiness, stillness, and contemplation. If one sentence had to depict this rather wonderful perfume, it would be ‘an olfactory embrace that you never ever want to end’.

Aquilaria is a niche perfume legend quietly waiting in the wings for its moment of deserved glory.

 

Part Two of this Review will be Arriving Shortly – covering the Marine Floral ‘Eglantier’

100ml Eau de Parfum, £105 at http://www.nancymeiland.com

Papillon Artisan Perfumes : ‘Dryad’ New Release – June 2017, Review.

‘Dryad’ ( Green Floral Chypre )

Perfumer Liz Moores captures retro gold  with the risky and daring move of creating an unabashed and unapologetic Classical Green Chypre that swims confidently against the tide of a market oversaturated with saccharine Gourmandes that threaten to give the world Olfactory Diabetes. And boy does it deliver …

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Dryad.
1)  The term Dryad comes from the Greek word ‘Dryos’ for Oak Tree, therefore the Dryads were considered to be nymphs of the forests, trees and groves, specifically the Oak Tree – the term dating back to the 14th Century. These tree nymphs or spirits, would lure Men into the dark heart of the forest; but also had less playful associations and were often seen as spiritual Guardians of the trees.

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2)  A dark brown Eurasian butterfly with two prominent bluish eyespots on each forewing. Minois dryas, the dryad, is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family discovered by Giovanni Scopoli in 1763. The notion that this perfume contains Oakmoss, and its founding house is named Papillon ( French for Butterfly ) is clever and pretty on both accounts.

Chypre.

 
What is it ? A lost artifact in the mists of time ? An olfactory myth ?

 
Or a type of scent that hasn’t really been made properly for a very long time indeed ?
Let us rewind. For those not so accustomed to the technicalities of perfumery, a Chypre is the definition of an olfactory family. A particular type of Perfume  that is structured around the defined contrast between the sharpness of Bergamot ( a bitter green Citrus fruit ) and the deep dry opulence of Oakmoss and Labdanum (a resin), often with the addition of Patchouli. Yet what happens between these two scented points can vary immensely – sometimes florals pad out the distance, whilst occasionally herbaceous accords cement the long drop from the bitter citrus high altitude right down to the deep green abyss beneath .

 
The word Chypre itself is derived from the French for Cyprus. The starring raw materials within a Chypre accord are to be found on this island .. Rock Rose (Labdanum), Oakmoss, and Bergamot. It also has connotations with spices, as Cyprus was a key part of the trading route during the Crusades in the dark ages. Everything about a good Chypre, is steeped in ancientness and to a greater degree – elements of darkness; a type of perfume not for the faint hearted or those looking for a mist of fleeting freshness.

 

Guerlain had been playing with Chypre type accords in the early 1900’s before Francois Coty struck olfactory gold in 1917 with his stellar creation ‘Chypre’, though Jacques Guerlains masterpiece ‘Mitsouko’ exploded onto the scene in 1919 with the probably very avante garde addition of peach voluptuously padding out the spices and florals. The Olfactory Family of rich deep mossy scents continued throughout the thirties, before the 1940’s arrived with the fashionable addition of Green notes. Adding an outdoorsy, optimistic, fresh, androgynous element to perfumes, the grassy notes, crisp herbal facets and sharp bitter  green-yellow top notes became very fashionable – echoing the forward looking sentiments of post war Europe.

 

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Some of the most infamous Chypres have defined generations : Rochas Femme (1944), Miss Dior (1947), Azuree (1969), Aromatics Elixir (1972), and Fendi (1985). These were expensive but popular mainstream perfumes, which fell out of fashion as the 1990’s arrived with its minimalist ozonic – aquatic ‘gas and air’ concoctions.

So after nearly fifeen years of the youthcentric  trend of Gourmandes – an overload of uninspired sugary pink confections – I feel like many, that it is time for Perfumery to return to and reconnect with its illustrious artisan and intelligent past where Perfumes could be high brow, opulent, and sophisticated.

 
Enter ‘Dryad’, a brilliantly concieved and beautifully executed Green Classical Floral Chypre which captures everything that is elegant, sensuous and sumptuous about this genre. It perfectly balances the almost sour citrus  against the dry, arrid, resinous greens and dark ambers : quite literally like a forest floor.
A bitter bite of Petitgrain and Bergamot with green pithy nuances delivers the bright tart opening that one would expect from a proper Chypre. Green floral undertones appear immediately but not recogniseable as specific single flowers. Touches of Orange Blossom absolute which can be suprisingly unsweet and Jonquil/Narcissus with their more botanic/hedgerow scent make their first appearance.
It is only around five minutes into its development on the skin that the plush velvety base of Oakmoss, Labdanum and possibly Vetiver begin to vibrate, along with a soft fruity element. This is that fabulous certain something that somehow encapsulates what is a Chypre – particularly well, a cleverly constructed one with excellent raw materials. I for one, like many connoisseurs despise the notion of what the commercial perfume industry define these days as a Chypre. Many people will not have smelt a full bodied structure including Oakmoss and opulent dry facets at this level of quality before.

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This is so perfectly poised, so exquisitely balanced, and expertly created, one might be mistaken that Elizabeth Moores had stolen a time machine and been taking notes from the old Masters of the Halcyon days of French perfumery.

It takes a little more time than most Olfactory families to develop, but a Chypre delivers the goods ten fold once it has arrived at its Olfactory destination. ‘Dryad’ certainly joins  this most illustrious club of superlative compositions which are both soft and intense, rich and dry all at once. This was sprayed before dinner, and forward twelve hours, the most divine soft aura – yet plush, opulent, lingering and haunting was still quite apparent on the skin as I awoke to the sound of birdsong, and the soft movement of the wind in the trees outside my window.

 

Like the tender flapping wings of a long lost butterfly with such unorthodox markings, or the primal spiritual whisperings that emanate from the dark verdant Forests; ‘Dryad’ is both strong and tender, lost and found, wilfully ancient and confusingly modern : a complex dichotomy of light and dark. But above all, it is deeply affecting.

An emotive, palpable perfume which vibrates with love, passion, intelligence and authenticity. These do not come along very often.

 

‘Dryad’ is a quiet masterpiece that will have Perfume lovers both of the old school and the new world cooing and eulogising its three dimensional throbbing beauty.

 

Papillon Artisan Perfumes – your time is now.

 

‘Dryad’ will be available as an Eau de Parfum to purchase as of  June 2017.

http://www.papillonperfumery.co.uk

Interlude: The Quiet Lady with the Loud Bottles ( A Modern Day Fairy Tale )

 

Not so long ago in a province known as The North, there lived a retired unassuming lady who lived on an unassuming street in an old mining village. She lived with her quiet grumpy husband and her menagerie of strange animals who were mischievous and always up to no good. He would watch sport every night and shout at the magic box as if it might just reply, whilst she went about her chores singing songs that normal people her age wouldn’t normally sing or dance around the house to.  She was a contented lady with a happy outlook on life and wherever she went, people would warm to her kind and cheerful nature. She had seen and done many things in her varied and interesting travels and had met many kinds of folk – some good, some very bad, but she had always kept her calm and humble nature to all those she met.

Until the day she discovered bottles. Perfume bottles to be exact.

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She had worn Perfume since she was a crazy young lady, when she was so full of zest and youthful exuberance, she nearly exploded like an overripe Orange with all the excitement she was having. Her bright clothes, colourful lipsticks, and big hair matched her zany beauty and she heightened this even further with the exotic, heady scents she would wear. Her favourite of all was an elixir of mischief and naughtiness, which smelt of night blooming Tuberose and forbidden purple berries, underpinned by spices from afar and musk that would make boys swoon as she raced pass like a whirling dervish in lime green and clementine.

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It was many years later when she had reached her mid life that she discovered some rather beautiful Perfume bottles and decided she might rather like to collect them. All of them. Every single one. That EVER existed. Hundreds, Thousands, not quite Millions but probably not far off.

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She began with some old treasures that held perfume which had come and gone before you and I were possibly even born : shapely, voluptuous glass creatures from a post war era that oozed femininity and sophistication. Many of these were shipped from far across the great cold Ocean from the Americas to our tiny island. This exoticsm excited her very much. It would be fair to say this quenched her desire briefly, but simultaneously grew her hunger to be surrounded by more beauty in the shape of these glass creations.

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This family of bottles grew and grew, and she decided she might like to collect their children, and their grand children, and all their crystal offspring. It was one cold winters morning when the snow had come early and her three strange miniature furry beasts were curled up in front of the fire, that she stood back and admired her small but perfect collection of French bottles and realised she wanted more.

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Different shapes and sizes, tall and squat, rounded and angular, some deep coloured like rich exotic jewels and others plain and simple but equally important to her aesthetic cravings. She wanted to house all of these weird and wonderful bottles like a gigantic clan of whispering giants in her house somehow. So she asked her grumpy husband to build her shelves, and more shelves, and yes – you’ve guessed it – even more shelves.

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First it was in her grand dining room around every wall, towering right up to the ceiling. Stories and stories of exotic bottles, like an indoor skyscraper but with no lift and no escape route, these treasures looked magnificent and gleaming. Some were shaped like a woman’s curvy body, others were sharp and architectural in their stance; there were even some made in the form of animals, peoples heads and one that looked quite rude. The strangest thing of all was that many of the bottles had their original magic juice inside and for the most part, she cared very little for what they might smell like, it was the majestic elegance and stature of their sculptural form that delighted, excited and ignited her joy for her ever growing quite magical gigantic collection.

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One day, she was asked by the untrustworthy folk at the very important magic tele box station if she wanted to star in her own programme all about her collecting. She politely declined as her love of bottles was more important to her than fame or fortune. She did however become locally known as the crazy bottle lady and people from miles around would drop perfume through her letterbox and send her their empties.

She made lots of friends through the talking computer and would get packages sent from all over the world. When the postman would ring the doorbell, she was like an excitable child at Christmas and she never tired of it. She would rearrange, polish and tend to her bottles every single day as if they were the most precious thing in the world. And to her of course they were.

And so we leave our story happily exactly where we started, the tale of a quiet, unassuming lady, living on a quiet unassuming street somewhere in the northern province of a tiny island. And all around the world, people knew her as the quiet lady with the loud bottles : it was as if they had sung to her, at first quietly; then over time, in an almighty rich spectacular crescendo .. a chorus of light, form and reflection.

She really was a very happy lady indeed.

The End ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guerlain – Scented Paper From Versailles : Part Two

 

Parfum Champs Elysees / 1904

Queen Victoria has only been dead three years, cars are in their infancy, air flight is but a dream and women are fighting for the right to vote. Yet, yet …

For all of the primitive, archaic rule, we had Perfume, Art and Music so complex and so modern, it was astounding : We were witnessing Picasso’s  late Rose Period, listening to bold new works by both Stravinsky and Bartok, and the Flat Iron Building in New York was completed – the first skyscraper, reaching 22 stories high.

And Perfume, although seen suspiciously as somewhere between alchemy, science and commerce was tentatively becoming an art form with the huge advancements in synthetics used not only by Jacques Guerlain himself, but also Francois Coty. In this instance, Parfums Champs Elysees very much supports and encapsulates the spirit of the times as the majority of Guerlain creations have done from the houses inception in 1828 ( right through to the glowing neon pink glow of La Petite Robe Noire in 2016).

Impossibly beautiful, etheric and bordering on an olfactory hallucogen, this is a floral but off the richter scale, and this is only being tested two dimensionally on a blotter card : how gloriously 3D this would smell on the skin ! Imagine being surrounded – almost immersed, in the most beautiful sea of deep yellow Jonquils, as far as the eye can see : drowning in a sea of golden, sumptuous honey and you begin to get the idea. I almost detect an air of rapeseed due to the ‘nether region’ sweetness of the indolic ‘bummy’ floral nuances. For a fraction of a second, there almost seems to be a Mimosa or Buddleia scent floating angelicly within the mix – and how odd that 92 years later that ‘Champs Elysees’ too contained these hauntingly evocative Spring florals.

Against this symphony of light, there inevitably has to be some shadow and sure enough something partially sinister flits here and there, just out of the corner of ones olfactory bulb. I think it may be a dirty musk of old, which never fully appears or shows itself; after all the general public were not ready for the animalic nuances of 1889’s seminal ‘Jicky’, nor ‘Shalimar’ which arrived nearly 20 years later and was not an overnight success either. Perhaps the fleeting appearance of something less than ladylike is intentional, titillating and teasing an olfactory cleavge but never fully bearing its beautiful scented breasts.

If this was available today, I would drink it. Literally. This is utterly preposterous and I adore it. Absolutely awesome.

 

Sillage / 1907

Powder, powder, powder.

Fruity, whispy little marshmallow pastel balls of fluff. Yet with an intensity that brings a sugared almond little sister of Mitsouko into the fold, minus the oakmoss. This borders on a Chypre but with a slight creosote element and a woody fruity texture creeping in. A few hours later, there would appear to be the bedrock or foundations of an Oriental base which was yet to be fully explored but touching upon a Gourmande before its time. No musk or dirtier elements here, just an immensely pretty if not slightly coquetteish demi parfum.

 

Muguet / 1908

A most beautiful portrait of a young lady : poised, tender and refined.

This is lovely. A very delicate Lily of the Valley with suprising depth and more sensuality than you might expect, not just for the date but also for the flower – usually associated with innocence rather than subtle sensuality. There is a dry powder element to this that works nicely counterpoint to the the verdant greenery and springlike dewy freshness.

I cannot get over its intense crisp leafiness and sharp edged modernity.

 

Chypre de Paris/ 1909

Emotional knee jerk writ large.

Sad, cold and prosaically beautiful – a quiet melancholy olfactory orgasm, to be frank. Complex, nutty, leathery – as if you were being chauffeur driven through the deserted rainwashed boulevards of Paris in a luxury car, its interior reeking of that near aphrodisiac scent of suede-soft, virginally fresh leather seats.

Powdery, decadent, opulent, excessive, stupendous. The scent of tears behind closed doors, or perhaps the long, lonely days of early spring under dark, silver skies.

A depressives olfactory wet dream.

 

Mitsouko/ 1919

This is so audacious, so beautiful, it literally – upon inhalation- can reduce people to tears.

By the time of my first encounter with Miss M, she was already Eighty years old, and in the best traditions of French black cats and their nine lives, had already used up a good few already ( in the light of modern reformulations ).

Comparing even the version of 15 years ago to todays is a leap of faith, and smelling this 1921 formula, restores it. The biggest shocker is how incredibly fruity it is, not just a little bit peachy but seriously ripe, mouth-wateringly three dimensionally tantalising to the nose as well as the tastebuds. Somehow this shouts Christmas long, long ago – magical, enchanted, nostalgic. A scent of peace, warmth and sheer joy – purely my own response as I know the original muse and story  is quite different indeed.

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Ultimately, this formulation shows how very balanced this was, how much depth was being played out, yet at odds with the fact that the formula is uncomplex and reputed to have only around thirty ingredients. Even more suprising, is the seemingly small amount of oakmoss diffusing amongst the lower regions of this exquisite ode to the Orient, as in the last twenty years – before EU restrictions on certain raw materials – the ‘forest floor’ element to this scent was fairly pronounced.

Instead, once again, we are being immersed in great vats and skies full of powder clouds. I think for our great grandparents who wore these creations initially, it was all about the soft and tender enveloping aura these perfumes diffused, perhaps a symbol of love and intimacy that could never be created again like this for modern times, which makes Mitsouko even more precious and uniquely special.

A masterpiece in any of its formulas or concentrations. A groundbreaker and a legend.