New Perfume Launches: 158 posts

Reviews of new fragrance launches

Gallivant Bukhara : Perfume Review

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Gallivant is an indie perfume house that wants to make us travel via its scents. Its journeys have previously included well-trodden places such as London, Amsterdam and Istanbul, but however popular the destination might have been, the route was anything but. Gallivant’s creator,  Nick Steward, likes to surprise, and all of his compositions treat their journeys as adventures. Bukhara is easily my favorite for its originality and intriguing complexity.

Let me say that nothing is easier for a perfumer than to take a city on the Silk Road as inspiration and load the composition with enough amber to break a camel’s back. Steward didn’t do that. He worked with perfumer Ralf Schwieger to create a fragrance that is radiant, luminous and modern. It has warm, dark elements, but they’re woven as seamlessly into the composition as the complementary colors of Bukhara’s famous blue mosaics.

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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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L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille : Perfume Review

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The combination of salt and vanilla is not common in perfumery, despite the ubiquity of these ingredients in modern patisserie. For one thing, salt is a fantasy impression created by certain marine and dry woody notes in fragrances, and its effect is cancelled out by the sweetness of vanilla. Also, when a perfume promises vanilla, we expect warm, creamy and cuddly–a bowl of custard, if you will. L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille, however, dares to be different.

While retaining the creaminess and dark sweetness of vanilla, perfumer Aliénor Massenet, who worked with L’Artisan Parfumeur on this launch, blended fresh floral and salty notes to balance out the richness. The sweet and salt facets give Couleur Vanille its personality, right from the top notes.

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Best of 2019 in Perfume

When it comes to  fragrances, 2019 has been a good year. There have been the usual commercial releases, but innovative launches were also numerous. I particularly liked the collection by L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803 created in collaboration with the Louvre that gave scent to some of the museum’s famous works. Carine Roitfeld’s line was likewise interesting, with a number of memorable perfumes.

As always, my list is personal and idiosyncratic. I didn’t aim to include everything, but rather the perfumes that caught my attention the most this year and the ones I wore. These are the fragrances that will accompany me into 2020. I look forward to hearing about your 2019 favorites.

Carine Roitfeld Parfums George

Carine Roitfeld Parfums was created by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. The line includes seven unisex fragrances, AurélienGeorgeKar-WaiLawrenceOrsonSebastian and Vladimir, inspired by fictional love stories. I ended up with a travel set, which I found excellent given that the premise of the collection is travel. Each lover takes his paramour to a different city, from Paris to Hong Kong. My choice was George, effervescent but with a suave finish. I also liked Lawrence, who comes bearing jasmine garlands.

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Carine Roitfeld Parfums George : Perfume Review

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In a memorable scene in Joris-Karl Huysman’s novel Against Nature, his character Des Esseintes is so inspired by reading Dickens that he decides to visit London. Yet, having traveled only as far as grey and rainy Paris, he feels that he has experienced London’s atmosphere enough in his imagination and abandons the whole idea. No doubt, Des Esseintes would have been sympathetic to the efforts of perfumers who attempt to satisfy the wanderlust of armchair travelers. One such venture is Carine Roitfeld Parfums, created by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. The line includes seven unisex fragrances, Aurélien, George, Kar-Wai, Lawrence, Orson, Sebastian and Vladimir, inspired by travel and by fictional lovers.

My ideal lover is George. He is elegant, suave, and soft-spoken, yet whatever he says keeps my interest piqued. (He has certainly read Huysmans, although decadence is not his favorite art current; he is more into realism.) I travel to Tokyo with George, where we stroll through autumnal temple gardens, take baths with iris petals and visit painting exhibits in those typically Japanese galleries filled with silence, soft light and a whiff of wood polish. With George on my arm, everything smells of violet leaves, moss and crushed green leaves. He doesn’t smoke, but the leather jacket that he wears so well is redolent of ashes and fine tobacco.

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