Casual: 219 posts

Perfume equivalents of T-shirt and jeans, comfortable and easy to wear

Penhaligon’s The Favourite : Perfume Review

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I try not to read the marketing material before testing a perfume–and with good reason. If I had learned that Penhaligon’s The Favourite was inspired by Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, I wouldn’t have described it as soft, ethereal and tender. It’s hard to imagine those adjectives applied to the favorite of Queen Anne and a prominent personality of 18th century Britain. A strong-willed woman who wielded power behind the throne, she evokes for me something more assertive than a musky floral. That being said, The Favourite is a lovely thing, and however mismatched its character and its story might be, I’m reaching for it whenever I want something comforting and elegant.

The appealing aspect of The Favourite is how it combines floral and fruity notes with a hint of powder. It starts with a bright and sweet citrus and immediately plunges into a floral accord combining soft, rose-like notes with violet. The effect is delicate, but once the musk becomes more prominent, The Favourite gains more richness.

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Golden Mandarins of Winter

If I had to pick only one perfume to wear throughout winter, it would be neither a smoky incense nor a warm amber. I could even survive the cold days without sumptuous white florals or dark spices. I couldn’t, however, go through winter without a citrus cologne. More precisely, my ideal winter fragrance is based around the zesty, bright note of mandarin. In my recent FT column, Mandarin Scents, I describe why I enjoy this ingredient, what makes it different from other citruses and which perfumes one should try.

Take, for example, Prada Infusion Mandarine. Its philosophy is to keep mandarin simple, and that refined minimalism is rewarding. The top notes combine all of the best elements of a citrus cologne – the green vibrancy of mandarin leaves, the sweetness of mandarin zest and the warmth of orange flowers. You notice the delicious bitterness of the peel and then the sweetness of pulp, and the contrast remains vivid into the drydown. To continue reading, please click here.

If you have favorite citrus perfumes for winter, please let me know.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Parfums de Rosine Le Magnolia de Rosine : Fragrance Review

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The best rendition of magnolia I’ve tried was Pierre Bourdon’s Sous Les Magnolias from his eponymous perfume line. It had the lemony ice cream richness of the southern flower, but instead of rendering it photorealistically and flatly, Bourdon structured the fragrance around a mossy-earthy chypre accord. It was a genius decision. Unfortunately, Sous Les Magnolias can be hard to find.

When I read about Les Parfums de Rosine offering Magnolia signed by Bourdon, I assumed that it would be close to his own magnolia.

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Dior Joy : Perfume Review

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Louis Vuitton has done it. It managed to buy a stake in the venerable house of Jean Patou and to add it to its impressive collection of brands. It announced reviving the Jean Patou fashion line and promised many exciting developments. The first one arrived and I’m not holding my breath for the subsequent ones. Dior launched a perfume called Joy. Why let such a brilliant name languish on an old-fashioned perfume when it can grace a modern, pink-tinted juice?

The press release was ecstatic. “Grasse Rose, in both Essence and Absolute form, as well as heady Jasmine, blend with these delectable fruits [bergamot and mandarin] in a vibrant smile. Warm and creamy sandalwood embraces us in softness.” That Dior needs to hire a good copywriter is obvious, but even more so the fact that besides the name, Dior also took the main idea of Jean Patou’s Joy, rose and jasmine. What would be the result, I wondered?

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Guerlain Mon Guerlain : Perfume Review

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It’s easy to be dismissive of a perfume like Mon Guerlain. It checks off all of the contemporary cliches–fruity-floral, sweet, and pretty. One can almost guess what it would smell like by looking at its adorable pink bottle. And it first, Mon Guerlain indeed smells predictable, a fruit compote accented with citrus and spiced with patchouli. Yet, in perfume, as in life, it pays to be open-minded.

Those who are willing to give Mon Guerlain a chance will find an upbeat, easy to wear fragrance with a solid Guerlinade imprint. How it gets there is the most interesting part.

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