New Perfume Launches: 103 posts

Reviews of new fragrance launches

Hermes Cuir d’Ange : Perfume Review

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Cuir d’Ange is the most recent addition to the Hermès Hermessence collection, a line of fragrances sold exclusively at the house’s boutiques. The idea is to capture the nuances of famous Hermès leather, which smells of flowers and musk. The perfumer behind it is Jean-Claude Ellena, a master of the most ethereal and delicate compositions, and as you would expect, Cuir d’Ange, Angel’s Leather, stays true to its name. It’s wispy and sheer, as if the leather that inspired it was polished to remove any traces of animal funk and made to smell like someone’s clean skin.

cuir hermes

Cuir d’Ange is pure comfort. Although I like to think of myself as someone unafraid of the raunchiest animalic scents, my favorite leathers in perfume bottles are soft and cuddly. I’m more in the camp of Bottega Veneta than that of Robert Piguet Bandit on most days. So, here you go. For this reason, the first time I smelled Cuir d’Ange, I felt that I discovered my ideal leather–creamy, suave, and mild. On the other hand, if you want the odor of a beaver in heat and don’t wish to settle for anything less, Cuir d’Ange will strike you as wimpy and bland.

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Bottega Veneta Knot : Perfume Review

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The main argument you hear from brands launching one bland, derivative perfume after another is that consumers like this sort of thing and that it is impossible to come up with an easy to like and uncomplicated perfume that holds the attention and smells interesting. But Bottega Veneta Knot, the new fall launch, proves that this reasoning doesn’t have much merit. If you want a fragrance that is as versatile and stylish as a little black dress, then this radiant orange blossom has much to recommend itself.

knot

Bottega Veneta’s first perfume was a leather-moss blend attuned to today’s fashions, with emphasis on radiance, softness and bright top notes. Knot’s basic idea is sheer as tulle orange blossom edged with vanilla and musk. Orange blossom is derived from the flowers of a bitter orange tree, and depending on how it’s processed–melting the flowers in a solvent or distilling the essence with steam, the result will be different*. The former gives you orange blossom absolute with its sweet, sumptuous notes, and the latter–neroli oil redolent of green buds of spring. Knot blends both of these essences and sheers them out with citrus juice and featherweight musk. The result is as fresh as a classical cologne, but with a curvier body.

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Annick Goutal Vent de Folie : Perfume Review

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Creating a best-selling perfume today is as hard as making a profitable one. The increasing costs of distribution and advertising cut so much into the margins that everything else becomes secondary. Which is why you see time and again big brands launching safe, bland perfumes. And not only big brands. As you can see from Vent de Folie, the newest release from Annick Goutal, the aim is to be likable, rather than interesting or memorable. goutal Certainly, there is nothing wrong with likable or simple or easy. I simply don’t  want to overpay niche prices when I can find comparable simple, easy perfumes elsewhere.  Vent de Folie is disappointing not because it is simple, but because it neither captures the eccentric, charming spirit of the Goutal perfume house nor does it offer a good deal for its price. If you want a little transparent floral, you need not spend niche prices; L’Occitane, Crabtree & Evelyn, Bath & Body Works and scores of other reasonably priced brands are just as good, if not better.

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Parfums de Nicolai Musc Monoi : Perfume Review

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Summer ends the same way for me. It seems that only yesterday I made vacation plans, unearthed a swimming suit from a pile of winter clothes and bought an extra bottle of sunscreen. And then I wake up at the end of August and see that the local stationery store is advertising “start of school” sales and tall lindens lining the avenues in the city are slowly changing from green to gold. If I could hit a pause button for a moment, I would, if only to capture this languid, golden sensation of late summer days. But everything rushes forward inexorably, and the most I can do is reach for bottled summer fantasies, such as Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Monoi.

musk monoi

Monoi (also called tiare) is a tropical blossom that smells creamy and intensely sweet. It’s macerated in coconut oil to capture its heady perfume, and the scented oil is used on skin and hair. If you’ve ever seen a fragrance or body product advertised as having a tropical fragrance, then this monoi-coconut combination is something you’ve already encountered. In France, summer scent often means sweet orange blossom, such as L’Oreal’s classical Ambre Solaire sunscreen, and in Musc Monoi, perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï weaves both Mediterranean and tropical inspirations.

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Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa : Perfume Review

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Scents that capture everything green are my obsession. Don’t give me a pale whisper of crushed stems or a hint of young leaf;  that’s not enough. I want the dazzling, overwhelming, explosive experience that you feel at the height of springtime when everything smells green and heady–the buds dripping with honey, blades of grass pushing through the asphalt, leaves unfurling from their sticky casings with violent force. Green is life, and I want to feel this verdant rush.

corsica-furiosa

But I’m in the minority. As Coty, Balmain and scores of other houses quickly discovered after launching their violently green perfumes, from Coty Chypre to Balmain Vent Vert, most people don’t want that much force. Green can be exciting, but it can also be raspy, sharp, challenging. Green accents are essential for many compositions, but strong green fragrances are rare. Which is why initially Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa seems like such a welcome divergence.

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