Olivier Polge: 16 posts

Thierry Mugler Oriental Express : Perfume Review

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What happens if you take iris, a note from the cool spectrum of a perfumer’s palette, and make it dark, smoky and sweet? The result is a new take on the oriental fragrance family, with lots of surprises. This is exactly what Thierry Mugler’s Oriental Express accomplishes.  A part of Thierry Mugler’s Les Exceptions collection, which also includes Chyprissime, Supra Floral, Fougère Furieuse, and Over The Musk, Oriental Express is a twist on the traditional theme. The idea behind the collection is to offer modern, novel interpretations of classical fragrance families.

Thierry Mugler

Easier said than done, especially in the case of the so-called oriental family. Loaded with balsams, sandalwood, vanilla, and incense, the oriental compositions have a very strong character, and to offer something new and different, yet still classical, requires unconventional choices. To solve this dilemma, perfumers Jean-Christophe Hérault and Olivier Polge took the direction of Shalimar.

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Chloe Roses de Chloe and Balenciaga Rosabotanica : Perfume Reviews

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Lots of roses ahead! Today, Elisa reviews two recent rose-centric flankers, Roses de Chloé and Balenciaga Rosabotanica. For more on flankers in general, check out “Flankers 101.”

Chloé Roses de Chloé 

By all rights, Roses de Chloé is what the first Chloé release should smell like. The original Karl Lagerfeld Chloé from the mid-70s was a voluptuous white floral, but Chloé relaunched it as a clean rose in 2008. The problem is, it’s too clean, with so much white musk overwhelming the formula that it smells far more like a laundry room than a rose garden.

rose de chloe

Last year’s L’Eau de Chloé, a greener version with more patchouli, was an obvious improvement – and so is this one, with its clearer, more realistic floral accord of tea rose with gestures toward springtime-y linden and lily of the valley. There’s nothing particularly unusual about it (this is a rose soliflore folks, not a moon walk), but it smells fresh, young, and pretty without smelling faux-fruity (though I do pick up a crisp apple note) or cheap. In fact, it reminds me at times of pricier niche scents like Annick Goutal Rose Splendide, Parfum de Rosine’s Rose d’Été and Yosh Sottile. If you’re looking for a simple rose scent at Macy’s or Sephora, you could do far worse and these days, couldn’t do much better.

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Repetto by Maison Repetto : Fragrance Review

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As a young ballet student I used to bristle whenever people said, “oh, ballet, it’s so lovely and pretty,” after I had just danced in excruciating pain. Later, it dawned on me that a dancer has to make something difficult seem weightless and graceful. If you see a swan sweat and strain, then she didn’t succeed in her craft. Perhaps, that is the reason I look indulgently upon the prettiness of Repetto. It’s about a ballet fantasy of pink slippers, tutus and Sugar Plum fairies.

parfum-repetto

Repetto is a French company that successfully made the cross over from professional dance shoes to everyday ballet flats and much more. There is now a line of clothing, handbags, and of course, fragrance. Repetto perfume launched earlier this year retaining the same ethereal aesthetic of the brand. It even involved Dorothée Gilbert, a Paris Opera Ballet prima, to star in its campaign. You can see the lithe dancer spraying on Repetto as she gets ready to leave for her rehearsals. A few shots later she adds a generous spritz on her neck just as she’s stepping onto the scene.

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Balenciaga Florabotanica : Perfume Review

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Wishing that all of my US friends stay safe, dry and prepared as the storm approaches! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything will be ok. I’m thinking about you!

Florabotanica is a good illustration of where most big brands, even those that start out with good intentions, end up as they chase market success. The first launch by Balenciaga, Balenciaga Paris, was a transparent violet leaf composition that wouldn’t be out of place in the L’Artisan Parfumeur collection. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take off that well. People need time to appreciate something unfamiliar, and the only way to do this is to support the brand and spend resources on educating the staff. In other words, you need time, money, and some new marketing tactics, all of which are in short supply at most fragrance houses today.

So, after the perfunctory flanker to Balenciaga Paris, L’Essence, we  have Florabotanica. It was composed by perfumers Olivier Polge (who also created Balenciaga Paris) and Jean-Christophe Hérault. The inspiration behind Florabotanica is described by Balenciaga as “not just a pretty flower, but a pretty dangerous flower.” This time Balenciaga took no risks. If you find transparent roses dangerous, then yes, I suppose that Florabotanica is right on the mark. I found it just pretty and meek.

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Lancome La Vie Est Belle : Perfume Review

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‘Please see my review of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb‘ — this is how I originally started my post on the newest Lancôme perfume La Vie Est Belle. This big Lancôme launch takes a lesson from its flop Magnifique and does everything by the book: a fetching package (check), something pink (check) and a safe, easy to like perfume (check). It’s even better if you tag on a well-known spokesperson (check, Julia Roberts looks gorgeous in the ads).

While my initial reaction was to dismiss La Vie Est Belle as another copycat, after wearing it for the past couple of weeks I’m not so sure what I think. The citrusy top notes laced with tangy raspberries were facile, but addictive, while the gourmand drydown tempered by earthy iris was surprisingly mellow.  I readied myself for another cheap fruit compote, but I discovered a trendy and likable perfume. I would have had an easier time making up my mind if it smelled cheap, but it doesn’t.

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  • Alison in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Amber and resin perfumes are the best on me , the dry down of such perfumes especially powdery Amber’s are the best on me, gourmands and sweet perfumes just font… August 14, 2020 at 11:56am

  • irem in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Hi Tourmaline, I have done that experiment inadvertently when I ate a spread containing a copious amount of fenugreek seeds and other spices including garlic. My sweat and urine smelled… August 14, 2020 at 11:51am

  • Joyce in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Oh dear, I hope my earlier comment wasn’t the inspiration for this post. Quite embarrassed now. Will keep quiet from this forum from now on…. August 14, 2020 at 9:55am

  • Tourmaline in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Dear Victoria, Thank you for this interesting post and video. I am looking forward to trying your suggestion of eating a teaspoonful of fenugreek seeds and then seeing how my… August 14, 2020 at 9:40am

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