Annick Menardo: 6 posts

Modern Classics Gourmands and Lolita Lempicka

Among some perfume lovers gourmand fragrances are the equivalent of chick lit, somehow seen as pleasant, entertaining but a guilty pleasure nonetheless. Although the fragrance shops are full of boring blends that smell like candy factories, this genre is far from dull and embarrassing. Not only do the sweet accords have a long tradition–visit the Osmothèque and ask to smell Parfums de Rosine’s Le Fruit Défendu, a banana sundae extravaganza from 1916, they also can be as complicated or as simple as a perfumer’s imagination allows. To defend this maligned genre, I bring to you the next installment in the Modern Classics series, Gourmands and Lolita Lempicka. My new FT column is all about indulgence and pleasure, without a shade of guilt.

Lolita Lempicka arrived in the wake of Angel in 1997. It is a perfume for those who want to avoid the jejune prettiness and cloying sweetness of many gourmand fragrances, while offering an indulgence. The heart of Lolita Lempicka is a clever pairing of patchouli (a nod to Angel) and iris. In a brilliant twist, the cool character of iris inflects all layers of the composition, rising like a soft mist over the confection of liquorice, Amarena cherries and praline. To continue, please click here.

The previous fragrance in the Modern Classic series was Serge Lutens’s Féminité du Bois.

Please let me know about your favorite gourmand perfumes. Do you have any sweet fragrances that are appropriate for the warm weather?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin.

Lolita Lempicka : Perfume Review

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Lolita-lempicka

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Out of all the gourmand fragrances following in Thierry Mugler Angel ‘s steps, Lolita Lempicka is still the most innovative example. Even when viewed against the whole body of gourmand perfumes launched since 1993, its originality and memorable contrasted character make it stand out. If Angel and Coco Mademoiselle have the dramatic and bold presence of a blonde in a tight red dress, Lolita Lempicka is a mysterious stranger in a black gown. The cleavage is perhaps quite low, but the effect nevertheless remains elegant.

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Bulgari Black : Fragrance Review

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Marlened2

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

To smell alluring one would never expect to don the scent of rubber and smoke. Yet, Bvlgari Black with its smoke and resin accords that oscillate between dark roasted lapsang souchong tea and rubber is one of the most sensual fragrances I have tried. Its sensuality is not the skintight silk dress seduction of Robert Piguet Fracas or the strawberries and champagne charm of Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse. Black is Marlene Dietrich in the 1930’s film “The Blue Angel.” It is thrilling, smoldering and daring. Nothing about it is conventionally beautiful. The best way to describe it is arresting. …

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Guerlain Bois d’Armenie : Perfume Review

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Incense_smoke

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I confess that I approached Guerlain Bois d’Arménie with a fair deal of apprehension. Despite my initial expectations, I have not found myself as moved by the L’Art et la Matiere collection as by the other Guerlain fragrances, from the treasured vintages like Rue de la Paix and Fol Arôme, the timeless classics like Mitsouko and Chamade to the more recent gems like Attrape-Coeur. Certainly, L’Art et la Matiere, which includes Angélique Noire, Cuir Beluga, Rose Barbare, and now Bois d’Arménie, has the aura of opulence and elegance that marks some other Guerlain classics; however, the effect in case of Cuir Beluga and Angelique Noire is rather self-conscious. Rose Barbare was the only fragrance I found distinctive, although even in that case, I wished for an edgier interpretation. …

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Lancome Hypnose : Perfume Review

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Mango_sorbeta

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There are times when one has cravings for a fragrance that merely teases with its mouthwatering associations, almost taking one to the patisserie, but not quite. Lancôme Hypnôse is such a composition, a pleasant sorbet of a fragrance that at first melts lusciously enveloping one in tropical fruit tartness and creamy vanilla, and then fades into the pleasant aftertaste of musky woods.

The frangipani drizzled with peach nectar opening of Hypnôse is layered with green jasmine, the lacy opulence of which serves as a nice counterpoint to the fruit compote in which the composition is liable to drown. The tropical fruitiness is however not overly sweet, and while the accord is not an impressionistic melody, it is not a glassy photorealistic rendition either, remaining between a flower and a fruit mélange. Hypnôse is reminiscent of Sicilian confections of sugar, candied pumpkin and almonds, scented with jasmine water. Just like these candies leave a taste of summer flowers on the lips, Hypnôse retains a touch of floral sweetness as it unfolds into one vanilla foiled layer after another. …

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