Are we safe from more oud? I certainly hope so. There has been a scattering of oud launches that lagged behind the recent onslaught, but so far there have not been many announcements of new fragrances focused on that now clichéd theme. As I survey the market, I mostly see a tendency towards classical themes this spring, with interpretations of either traditional genres or classical raw materials. I am eagerly anticipating the launch of Hermès Jardin Sur Le Toit and Tom Ford Lavender Palm (see more details about these new fragrances below); both from houses which never fail to offer something interesting. So here is another installment of my trend watch report which continues my earlier thoughts on perfume trends in 2011.
More White Flowers : Orange Blossom
As we move further into spring launches, I notice a strong trend in orange blossom dominated compositions. I find orange blossom to be an interesting note, not only because of its beautiful profile combining warm sweetness with green and animalic facets, but also because orange blossom has different associations in the European and US markets. In Europe, and particularly France where the orange flower is commonly used to scent baby products, it has very tender, innocent connotations. On the other hand, in the US it tends to be seen as more mature and sophisticated.
On the bright and delicate side of the orange blossom spectrum, we have Coach Summer to be launched in April. Created by perfumer Harry Frémont, it explores the sparkling, petally orange blossom impression, along the lines of Estée Lauder Wild Elixir. Lancôme will launch Ô de l’Orangerie, a flanker to the venerable classic Ô de Lancôme. It is based around the fresh, citrusy orange blossom accord, with orange zest, benzoin and cedar accenting the floral notes. Issey Miyake’s A Scent by Issey Miyake Soleil de Néroli is in a similar effervescent and bright spirit, with gardenia, jasmine, hyacinth and musk playing up the green floral notes of neroli (steam-distillation of orange flowers). Finally, Dsquared2 She Wood Golden Light Wood, created by perfumer Daphne Bugey, provides an interesting interplay between orange blossom and woody notes. It wraps orange blossom and neroli around vetiver and cedarwood.
Even the richer, more mature orange blossom themes take on a lighter, fresher spirit. One recent example is Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet. Created by perfumer Aurelien Guichard, it works the orange blossom, gardenia and tuberose to produce a light version of Fracas. The accents of sandalwood and musk give it a warm, soft backdrop. The doyenne of opulent orange blossoms, Oscar de la Renta, which was first created in 1977, will have a new companion, Esprit d’Oscar. It launches in April and will present the floral oriental orange blossom interpretation developed by perfumer Frank Voelkl. The classical Oscar orange blossom and tuberose accord is made lighter and more sparkling with the citrusy notes of lemon, bergamot, and citron. Another warm, sweet orange blossom this spring is Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, which reinterprets the classical Guerlinade accord by placing stronger accents on orange blossom and using bergamot, lemon, galbanum, and fig leaf notes to lend it a green, sharp quality. Orange blossom is a classical note, so the reworks of the fragrances of the past keep in spirit with the general classical tendencies of today’s market.
Aromatic Fougère: Traditional Shapes and Modern Expressions
An ever popular category of masculine fragrances, fougère is a fragrance type that combines quite a panoply of sensations, from the freshness of citrus and the aromatic brightness of herbs to the dryness of patchouli and the warmth of oriental notes. While it never shows signs of disappearing, both the traditional and modern takes on this idea have been interesting. Among the classics, Houbigant relaunched the iconic Fougère Royale, a fragrance that not only gave a name to this family, but was also responsible for the birth of modern perfumery with its unprecedented use of synthetic coumarin. Originally created by Paul Parquet in 1882, the new version was reorchestrated by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. If Fougère Royale is a quintessential classical fougère, Penhaligon’s Sartorial created by Bertrand Duchaufour is a modern composition, which uses the contrast between dark, modern ambers and fresh aldehydic (effervescent and metallic) notes. Gucci’s masculine counterpart to its feminine Gucci Guilty, Guilty Pour Homme is another modern fougère, but with a strong accent on citrusy notes. An Original Penguin, an American clothing company, went into a spicy fougère direction with their first fragrance. Original Penguin for Men is a composition of neroli, sage, golden apple, lavender, black pepper, fir needles, patchouli, black musk, tonka bean and vanilla. Created by perfumer Steve Demercado, it will launch in March. On the other hand, Tom Ford Lavender Palm refines the main fougère element, lavender, to its most essential and accents the note with bergamot, lemon, lime blossom and vetiver, clary sage, frankincense and moss.
Modern Cologne: Sheer Woods, Green Herbs, Exotic Fruit
Cologne, another very classical fragrance family, remains a popular choice for modern variations, some of which have been very memorable. Particularly enjoyable has been the treatment of woody notes, which in contemporary colognes have often been rendered sheer and luminous. Atelier Cologne, a brand with a memorable cologne selection, has delighted me with Oolang Infini and Bois Blonds, two fragrances in which the traditionally heavy and dark notes of woods and leather and woods and incense, respectively, are given a new transparent interpretation. The newest from Atelier Cologne, Vanille Insensée explores the sheer oriental accord idea as set against an effervescent citrus accord. On the other hand, some of the new colognes play with the accents, exchanging the traditional citrus for aromatic herbs (Cartier IV L’Heure Fougueuse) or else using different fruity notes to achieve a fresh effect. In the new fruity cologne genre, there will be a new trio from Marc Jacobs Cocktail Splash Collection: Ginger, Curaçao and Cranberry, inspired by tropical fruity notes. It launches in March. Finally, a much anticipated April launch of another edition of Hermès Jardin series, Un Jardin Sur Le Toit, explores the fresh green notes of apple, pear, green grass, basil, which are set against rose, magnolia and compost notes.