Angelica: 9 posts

When you see angelica in the perfume description, it usually refers to the essence obtained from the dried root of Angelica Archangelica. It has a beautiful musky scent with other nuances: green, woody, with a hint of spice. Other parts of the plant can be used in various ways. The stalks of the plant are candied. (Although a Persian plant golpar (Heracleum persicum) is sometimes called angelica, it’s a different botanical family and its taste and perfume are different. Golpar seeds are used in Iranian cuisine.)

Atelier Cologne Jasmin Angelique : Perfume Review

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Angelica may seem like an esoteric perfume note to be obsessed with. If people associate it with anything, it’s with the candied green stems that make their way into cakes.  As I discovered when I was researching an article for my FT column, it’s an essential ingredient in many types of fragrances and a fascinating material. Angelica combines musky and green nuances with a bright, peppery touch, making it a perfect partner to florals, citrus, woods and musks. Atelier Cologne Jasmin Angélique is firmly in the floral camp, but its angelica layer gives the fragrance complexity and radiance.

The first impression of Jasmin Angélique is so green and peppery that it’s a surprise every single time I put on the perfume. It’s the hit of gin, the bite of black pepper and the pleasant bitterness of greens rolled into one accord. The illusion is created by the use of frankincense that can smell either dark or shimmering depending on what notes accompany it. Here it is paired with leafy notes, and the effect is dazzling.

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Musky Warmth of Angelica

Angelica essence smells of musky flowers and foggy autumnal mornings. It’s a fascinating aroma because, despite its delicate aura, its character can be quite assertive, and although it starts on a bright and shimmering note, the earthy base layers betray its darker leanings. Angelica is used widely by perfumers to give a green touch to an accord or to soften a citrusy cologne, but it rarely stars as a leading note. On the occasions it is given center stage, however, it reveals its full capacity to surprise.

Though angelica is not as a well known perfume ingredient as rose or jasmine, it’s a fascinating material with a diverse range of effects. It can be sweet and spicy, green and musky, woody and floral, depending on how it’s used. To uncover more facets of angelica, I selected it for one of my FT column topics. In the article, Musky Warmth of Angelica, I talk about this material and some of the most interesting perfumes, in which you can smell it clearly. You can read the article by clicking here.

If you have tried any angelica perfumes, please let me know which ones you like.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Jo Malone Rain and Angelica : Perfume Review

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The smell of sun-dried linens is one of those scents that invariably make me feel like all is well in the world. At the root of it is a childhood recollection of my grandmother’s linens (the memory conveniently blots out the less romantic realities of doing laundry by hand in a house with no running water). The aroma of starched fabric heated in the sun is so comforting that I look to the perfume bottle to satisfy this craving. An unexpected addition to my “sun and summer” fragrances has become Jo Malone Rain and Angelica, a recent debut from the brand specializing in simple, easy-to-wear scents.

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There is no reason to expect that something called Rain and Angelica (an unsubtle nod to Frédéric Malle ‘s rain drenched angelicas, Angéliques Sous la Pluie) would smell of sun warmed sheets or even anything summery. When I checked the list of notes well after trying and wearing the perfume for several days, I was surprised to find little resemblance between the cold, aquatic elements on paper and the warm, soft perfume on my skin.

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Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica : Perfume Review

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Jo Malone’s image of casual elegance and minimalism have given the brand an edge over other perfume houses vying for over-the-top glamour and in your face luxury. The bottles are simple, the beige packaging has a retro charm, and the collection is presented in such a way as to remove the intimidation factor. You’re encouraged to layer, blend and mix to your heart’s content. The perfumes are usually based around single note ideas like rose, grapefruit, bluebell, or in combinations that are either trendy (oud) or reassuringly comforting (pear & freesia, tea & bergamot.) The only aspect of Jo Malone that’s not understated is the price.

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Over the past few years, Jo Malone’s retail prices have been on the rise. It mirrors the general trend in the luxury market, but I was nevertheless taken aback when I returned to repurchase a bottle of Orange Blossom cologne. At $115 for a 100ml bottle, it’s no longer an affordable indulgence; this kind of expense needs to be planned in advance. If I wanted to treat myself to the latest launch, Tuberose Angelica, I’d have to spend even more for the same amount, $145.

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Comme des Garcons Blue Invasion : Perfume Reviews

Incense, sandalwood and citrus are to niche perfumery what ruffians, loners and chain-smoking philosophers are to French New Wave cinema. Incense, with its dark connotations, can be made either sultry or brooding. Sandalwood is the wood of choice to imply anything mysterious, while citrus is versatile enough to be twisted into anything you wish. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Comme des Garçons the Jean-Luc Godard of the perfume world, and as its three fragrances, Blue Santal, Blue Cedrat and Blue Encens, in the Blue Invasion collection demonstrate, it’s possible to discover something new even in very familiar themes.

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In traditional perfumery blue is the shorthand for masculine, and if you ever see blue juice in the bottle, 99% of the time, you’d be right to expect a men’s cologne. Unless you’re holding a bottle of Thierry Mugler Angel, of course. Comme des Garçons doesn’t quite do the kind of about-face that Angel performs, but all three fragrances are comfortably androgynous.

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