czech and speake: 2 posts

The Essence of London : In Perfume Bottle

I have a new article in the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column. Titled The Essence of London, it describes my quest for a fragrance that captures the scent of London, a city I once called home. Once I left London, I missed it so much that I longed even to get a whiff of The Thames at low tidy (yes, that’s how much I longed for London!)


When I mention to people that I love the smell of London, they usually make a quip about smog and exhaust fumes. Like most big cities, London has its fair share of unsavoury odours. The musty smell of the Thames at low tide is the least irksome of them, but I would paint an olfactory portrait of London with the freshness of daffodils in Kew Gardens, the antique-wood sweetness of the National Portrait Gallery and the pungency of the spices at Portobello Road Market. I would add the heady, creamy accent of Neal’s Yard Dairy for the rich base notes. Please read the rest by clicking here.

What environmental scents do you experience on a daily basis? Please don’t hesitate to tell us about the unpleasant ones! Brussels often smells like vanilla thanks to the ever-present waffle stands, but you only need to enter the subway to experience that ineffable musty rag odor hovering in the underground passages.

Photo via FT

Czech & Speake Dark Rose : Perfume Review



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

Czech & Speake Dark Rose is a fragrance that is certain to surprise. Exploring rose fragrances over the past couple of weeks led me to revisit a number of rose focused compositions, wondering why the roses that fascinated me the most were nocturnal and masculine. Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan, Une Rose by Frederic Malle, Rose d’Homme by Parfums de Rosine, Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens and, to a lesser degree, Rose Poivree by The Different Company, present beautiful treatments of rose that do not link flowers with their feminine associations. Layering roses with vanilla and sweet notes seems like a natural pairing, and it has been done to the extent that it is refreshing to discover a fragrance that takes the flower and accents its woody, spicy and raw aspects. Experiencing the smoke and incense anointed layers of Dark Rose makes one understand why in the Middle Eastern tradition roses are endowed with masculine traits.

Dark Rose makes one discover the rarely exploited aspect of rose, its thorns, thus separating Dark Rose from the sweet and pretty rose compositions. Admittedly, Dark Rose is not the best rose of the nocturnal genre, but its story still remains novel and its execution intriguing. In this light, my gravitation to Dark Rose after weeks of wearing other rose fragrance is understandable. Moreover, doesn’t one wish to reveal one’s own claws from time to time? …

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