Puredistance Black: Shades of Purple & Pink

The night is dark, and full of terrors.”

Source: Puredistance.

Source: Puredistance.

That is one my favorite quotes from the television series, Game of Thrones, and I often come up with fun variations for different occasions. It’s a line which sticks in my head, so I wasn’t surprised when it popped back up just before I began testing Black, the new, about-to-be-released fragrance from one of my favorite perfume houses, Puredistance. The luxury brand talks about how the scent was inspired by “the concept of black,” and about how it is a “mysterious fragrance that stays in the shadow, giving away – only every now and then – part of its nature.”

Upon reading that part of the press release, and seeing the image sent by the company, all I could think of was, “the night is dark (black), and full of luxury.” Well, not quite. As it turns out, Black is indeed an extremely luxurious fragrance that smells very expensive, but I found it to be as purple and pink as humanly possible. At one point, it evoked fluffy pink clouds, and I almost expected a chubby cherub to be sitting on one and offering me turkish delight. For me, “Black” is the absolute furthest thing from its name, and is not my personal cup of tea. It’s not a bad fragrance by any means — in fact, it’s well done and clearly emanates luxury — but we all have subjective tastes or things that we struggle with, and I struggled quite a bit with Black.  

Black in the 17.5 travel flacon. Source: Puredistance.

Black in the 17.5 travel flacon. Source: Puredistance.

Like all of Puredistance’s fragrances, Black was created by a master perfumer, in this case, Antoine Lie, and is the very highest perfume concentration, an extrait de parfum. Black clocks in at 25% perfume oil, a figure that is surpassed only by Puredistance’s exquisite floral, Opardu (which has 32%). Black will be released at the start of December, and is described as follows:

Puredistance Black is an understated elegant and mysteriously charming perfume inspired by the concept of BLACK; a concept that for centuries has been associated with secrets, mystery and style.

Puredistance BLACK is created in Paris by the famous French Perfumer Antoine Lie based on a concept of Puredistance founder Jan Ewoud Vos. The essence of the concept was to create a perfume that is close to the wearer and releases sensual and elegant scent layers in a whispering way – without shouting. A mysterious fragrance that stays in the shadow, giving away – only every now and then – part of its nature.

Black in bottle, non-travel form.

Black in the regular, non-travel, bottle form.

As part of the whole concept of mysterious shadows, Puredistance wants you to treasure the “beauty of the unknown,” and merely describes the scent as one that is more “masculine and oriental” than Puredistance “I.” The company is keeping secret Black’s perfume notes, saying only that you should “Envision, Smell, Feel. Don’t analyse.” If you’re a regular reader, you all know how well I manage not to analyse things…. It’s hopeless. I was incapable of just smelling, feeling, letting go and not analysing with the uber-luxury brand, JAR, and it’s not possible here, either. It simply is not my personality or forte in life, given my obsessiveness with both facts and details. 

So, based on what I smelled, let me give you my guess of the notes in Puredistance Black:

Ginger, cardamom, absinthe wood (wormwood), saffron, rose, patchouli, myrrh, opoponax (sweet myrrh), amber, sandalwood (not from Mysore), and benzoin.

What I’m less absolutely certain of is the possible inclusion of oud, a tiny touch of elemi wood or guaiac as an additional source of woody smoke, and a drop of vanilla. It’s extremely possible, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

Puredistance Black opens on my skin with a blast of cardamom, immediately followed by ginger, amber, absinthe wood, incense, saffron, patchouli, and a whisper of rose. There is a balanced sweetness, a suggestion of sandalwood, and a saffron that is neither buttery nor hot, but wonderfully spicy. The ginger adds a lovely, fresh, piquant bite that works beautifully with the sweeter notes and the woodsy notes.

Speaking of the latter, I guessed absinthe (or wormwood) for a few reasons. First, even before I tested the perfume and simply upon taking the vial out of its white, satin pouch, I was hit by an extremely strong blast of oud-like woodiness that was herbal, spicy, and green — too much so to be real agarwood. It was also extremely similar in smell to the wood note in Amouage‘s Fate Man, a fragrance that officially includes wormwood. On the skin, the woodsy notes was surprisingly less dominant and forceful than what was wafting out of the vial, but it felt even less than complete, total agarwood in nature. Absinthe shares a few cursory, initial similarities with oud, so that’s what I’m going on.

purple smokeThe initial opening of Black in the first two minutes is lovely, but then, my nemesis takes over: purple, fruited patchouli. For all that I love black/brown patchouli, I despise the purple kind that is ubiquitous and everywhere in modern perfumery. A friend asked me the difference the other day, and I think my explanation may help some other people too.

For me, traditional (and rather 1980s) patchouli is brown/black in hue, with chewy undertones of sweet amber, spice, leather, wood, and incense smoke. The current, modern version of patchouli is purple in hue because it’s fruity, syrupy, jammy, incredibly sweet, and with grape and berry undertones. The very original type of patchouli is the 1970s, hippie kind that is really, really black, dirty patchouli and that people describe as a “head shop” scent. Some examples of fragrances with a strong purple patchouli note would be: almost every commercial, department store perfume containing “patchouli,” Marc JacobsLola, Chanel‘s Coco Noir, Le Labo‘s Ylang 49, Frederic Malle‘s Portrait of a Lady, and, now, alas, Puredistance Black. An example of black/brown, more traditional patchouli would be something like Profumum Roma‘s Patchouly, Serge LutensBorneo 1834, Chanel‘s Coromandel, or Reminiscence‘s Patchouli. It’s not a long list at all because that sort of patchouli is incredibly uncommon nowadays.

Source: Tasty Yummies blog. (Link to website embedded within photo. For recipe for Concord grape jam, click on photo.)

Source: Tasty Yummies blog. (Link to website embedded within photo. For recipe for Concord grape jam, click on photo.)

I spent all this time outlining the specific smell and nature of purple, “fruit-chouli” because it is the heart of soul of how Puredistance Black manifests itself on my skin. No less than three minutes into the perfume’s development, the saffron-oud blast takes on an almost grape-y, berry, jammy overtone that is incredibly sweet. Five minutes in, I feel as though I’ve been covered by fruit syrup. Twenty minutes in, I feel as though I’ve been transformed into a berry tart with unctuous, cloyingly sweet, fruited, purple Smucker’s jam, then sprinkled with rose petals and a dusting of saffron. I have to be honest, I lost my appetite — and I hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours.

I wish there were a substantial counter-balance to the deluge of fruit-chouli in the opening hour. There is a herbal, woody note that flitters about like a tiny hummingbird, but it’s far, far underneath, and wholly unable to compete with the grape-y, berry onslaught that is stomping over my arm like a Panzer unit in full fury. I know my skin tends to amplify base notes, but this is a bit ridiculous. I think sadly back to that absolutely lovely opening with its spicy, gingered, slightly herbal, ambered woodiness, but it’s gone, smothered by unctuous, purple, saffron-rose-infused molasses. Even the absinthe gasps for air, then retreats to the corner to hide its head.

"Purple Velvet Gold Flakes" by *Will3style at Deviantart.com. http://will3style.deviantart.com/art/Purple-Velvet-Gold-Flakes-258099755

“Purple Velvet Gold Flakes” by *Will3style at Deviantart.com. http://will3style.deviantart.com/art/Purple-Velvet-Gold-Flakes-258099755

There is no salvation in low sillage, either. That promised description of a wispy perfume that “stays in the shadow”? Ha! Black’s opening is strong and potent, with significant sillage, wafting in a purple cloud almost a foot around me. I normally would be thrilled, but the fruit-chouli is starting to crush my spirit. For a whole hour, I’m drenched by jammy, grape-berry molasses, that is just lightly infused by particles of saffron-infused rose, incense, absinthe wood, and honeyed amber. The ginger is no longer noticeable, and neither is the cardamom.

Source: hdwallpaperplace.com

Source: hdwallpaperplace.com

It was with enormous relief that things start to slowly — very slowly — improve at the end of the first hour. The Smucker’s patchouli jam lessens fractionally, allowing the rose to finally come out properly from its gooey purple shadow. The rose is sweet, just slightly dewy, and pink in visuals. With each passing moment during the second hour, it takes on a weight of its own, and starts to diffuse the fruitedness of the perfume. The woody notes and light incense are also more noticeable, though they’re largely blended into the greater whole.

Rose-flavoured Turkish Delight.

Rose-flavoured Turkish Delight.

By the start of the third hour, Puredistance Black’s purple hues have turned into a gorgeous shade of pink. The perfume wafts about 2 inches above the skin, and has a soft, creamy texture like a fluffy cloud of saffron-rose. In fact, Black takes on a Turkish Delight, or loukhoum quality, though without any of the sugared powderiness often associated with that confection. The patchouli remains, but it is quite mild as compared to its original, completely nuclear blast. Instead, it merely adds to the loukhoum association with a soft touch of grape. It actually works perfectly and brilliantly now. The absinthe wormwood and touch of incense lurk in the shadows, leaving an image that is primarily that of a pink, fluffy, creamy cloud. I almost expect to see a pink-cheeked cherub sitting on one of them.

I mean it quite sincerely when I saw that I enjoyed this phase of Black. I really did. It reminded me of a significantly richer, creamier, more luxurious version of the drydown phase of Tom Ford‘s Noir de Noir. There, the syrupy, very baroque rose with saffron, truffle earthiness, and the merest, speckled touch of oud also turned into a loukhoum confection in its final stage, but there are big difference. Noir de Noir was much thinner at that point than Black, had an almost violet-y touch, and, more to the point, was extremely powdered in nature. I wasn’t particularly fond of the violet, vanillic powder of the drydown, and I’m relieved that Puredistance Black has none of it at this stage.

Source: 8tracks.com

Source: 8tracks.com

Even better, Black is infinitely deeper, smoother, richer, creamier, and more opulent. The perfume is fluffy, but rich; sweet but not excessive; and an utterly beautiful, creamy, deep, pink rose with just the right amount of fruited patchouli. There is also the very necessary touch of woodiness which Noir de Noir lacked in its drydown, adding a balance to the floral sweetness. Here, the woody element has the faintest flicker of herbaceousness, but, more importantly, a creamy smoothness that makes me wonder if there is generic, Australian sandalwood or cashmeran underneath.

Black remains as this lovely mix for a few hours with only minor alterations. For example, at the start of the fifth hour, the perfume drops to lie just barely above the skin. The herbal absinthe wood that continues to hide behind the floral loukhoum changes in strength, fluctuating from mild to weak on the overall scale of things. And there is a growing hint of something anisic that is rising to the surface.

At the 6.5 hour mark, however, Black begins to transform. It takes on a licorice undertone and slight whiteness which makes me think that it must have myrrh. It is a note which is known to display an anisic, herbal facet, in addition to a slightly churchy, cold, white, incense note. The latter is extremely subtle in Black, but it’s there as well. At the same time, there also is a flickering shade of something honeyed which resembles very much sweet myrrh or opoponax. In addition, Black is starting to show a slightly vanillic powderiness that makes me suspect the presence of benzoin. In its final change, the perfume has turned into a gauzy veil that sits right on the skin, though it is still easily noticeable and potent when sniffed up close.

"Pink abstract" by Montserrat Lopez Ortiz via fineartamerica.com

“Pink abstract,” painting by Montserrat Lopez Ortiz via fineartamerica.com

Black still smells of a floral confection first and foremost, but the newcomers become increasingly noticeable. And, in all honesty, I’m not completely thrilled by the overall effect. There is a cloying undertone to the rose Turkish delight when combined with the anisic, slightly cold, white incense-y myrrh, the sweet myrrh, and the vanillic powder. It’s not helped by a new spiciness that faintly resembles All-Spice powder and/or star anise. In small doses and for a short period of time, the sum total is perfectly fine, but Black stays this way for hours on end. I found it a little fatiguing, if truth be told.

In its very final stage, starting at the 9th hour, Black turns into a whisper of sweet vanillic powder with rose, a vague blur of myrrh, a flicker of abstract woodiness, and an odd underlying tinge of sourness. It’s all a shadow of its former self, coating the skin like the sheerest, thinnest glaze. Black finally fades away about 14 hours from the start with four squirts from the small sample, and 15.25 hours with 5 medium sprays. (Note: My sample atomizer didn’t release the same amount as would be available from a regular bottle as it had a very small hole and a wonky release, so the quantity applied was not as large as those numbers may suggest. It would really be the equivalent of 3 small-to-medium smears from a dab vial, and 4 large ones.)

I tested Black twice, and I’m afraid I wasn’t very enamoured on either occasion. I don’t mind the middle phase, but I wasn’t crazy about the last one. And there aren’t words whatsoever to describe my reaction to the opening hour. As I said, I thought Black significantly and substantially improved at the start of the second hour, but the first one was rough.

Yet, it’s important to put my comments into context: I absolutely loathe purple, fruited patchouli. I try to grit my teeth and get over it when the note is minor, but when it is significant, substantial, and potent, then I simply can’t bear it. I don’t think others have quite the intensity of my reaction to fruit-chouli, which isn’t helped by having a skin chemistry that amplifies the note. In short, my reaction is very subjective and personal to me.

It’s also a reaction that is not even remotely common to others who have tested perfume. Black has generally been greeted with uniform admiration and liking, even by those who usually share my perfume tastes and skin chemistry. Take, for example, The Non-Blonde who writes, in part:

Puredistance is stepping into unexpected new territory with Black, a dark and romantic fragrance created by perfumer Antoine Lei[.] … Black [is] an oriental with an edge that could have come straight out of the labs at Amouage.  […]

Puredistance Black holds my interest from the very first second. A medicinal camphoric note there that lets you know that the raw materials here are real and uncompromising. Soon it becomes honeyed and steeped in booze, making the maybe-oud go down easily and deliciously. Perfumes of this kind, from Amouage to By Kilian often use their sillage to assert themselves as luxury. Not here, though, and as the press materials stress– this is a feature, not a bug. And I have to say that I love it. Black is not exactly a skin scent but it lives and thrives on skin level;  the emotional storm is very much there, manifesting itself for one’s own personal pleasure for a full day and night, just without broadcasting it to the world.

My reaction was also different from those who did detect the patchouli, but had a completely different perception of its nature. In a gushing rave, The Perfume Shrine described Black as follows:

a quasi-brutal opening with a tangy citric fruitiness allied to the darkest, earthiest patchouli possible, like snails coming out of the bush in the dusk, but the cloak of the night soon mollifies it with a woody cluster of honeyed plummy-cedar notes reminiscent of the Lutens canon and a “suede” orientalism. The sweet melange is also reminiscent of pipe tobacco, laced with a boozy aftertaste that lingers. (I hypothesize smoky cypriol/cyperus and vetiver should be featured too). Chewy, a meat course for non vegetarians. […]

Puredistance Black reminds me of the darkness and weirdness factor of Goutal’s Un Parfum Cheri, par Camille, fueled by an intense Indonesian patchouli grade replete with all its earthy chocolate and darkness “dirty” facets. […] Black would be also liked by those who appreciate Borneo 1834 and Bois de Violette or by oudh and tobacco fragrances fans, as the bittersweet oriental feel would appeal.

I’ve tested both the Lutens fragrances that she mentions, and I see absolutely no similarity between the patchouli in Borneo 1834 and Black. Not even remotely. As for Bois de Violette, I don’t think mere fruited sweetness with wood is enough to make the perfumes comparable in style. Clearly, we have very different skin and skin chemistry.

Patchouli — of any kind — isn’t mentioned at all by two bloggers with whom I generally have very similar perfume opinions, as well as perfume tastes. Take the lovely Caro of Te de Violetas who writes:

The initial impression is one of chaos: its fiery opening smolders with notes of chili pepper, cinnamon, and green cardamom, soon overlapped by the bitterness of saffron and absinthe. A smoky touch of oud dominates the blend for a while and brands its character. I am not especially devout of oud but the effect here is restrained and it suffices to cast a veil of mystery. The whole effect is opaque but lightweight and refined. As I near my nose to my wrist, I can’t shake from my head images of Bogart and Bacall. The progression is as smooth as velvet. As it turns softer, well into the drydown, vanillatobacco and tonka ensure a plushy sweetness but the darkness never completely fades away.

As a woman, I can wear Black more comfortably than the rugged M, but I still prefer to smell this on a beloved man or on a handsome stranger.

The Scented Hound also never mentions patchouli, though parts of his experience sound to me as though they involved both absinthe wood and myrrh:

WHAT I SMELL:  Black opens with a sweet and deep incense and smoky accord.  I want to say there’s some bergamot and what seems to be a bit of floraled honey mixed with the smokiness.  That initial smokiness breaks away somewhat to reveal this almost butter like creamy light almond.  But as soon as I notice that, the incense starts to waft up from the bottom again, this time with what seems to be a bit of sueded leather. There’s a bit of sour that makes an appearance that doesn’t detract, but like the smoke and incense, seems to pop in and out.  After around 15 minutes it seems like there is a bit of peppered metallic that makes an appearance.  Again, it comes and goes like all of the other notes which seem to intermix seamlessly without one note dominating.  In the end you’re left with a very light, close to the skin, smooth and elegant slightly woody incensed perfume.

As all of this should make clear, Puredistance Black is different things to different people. All these reviews are dissimilar, though mine seems to veer furthest outside any common thread.

So, the bottom line is that you should try Black for yourself, and make up your mind. If, by chance you generally share similarities with my type of skin and perfume taste, don’t be put off by my review. For example, if you love Tom Ford’s Noir de Noir, or if you would like an even richer version of its drydown, you absolutely should consider Puredistance Black. I will only caution you on one thing: if you’re expecting another, darker, woodier version of Puredistance’s absolutely spectacular “M,” then you will be disappointed. They are nothing alike — and every reviewer who mentions “M” is absolutely consistent on that point.

Perhaps that is small part of why I struggled with Black. M happens to be one of my all-time favorite (modern) fragrances, an absolutely magnificent marvel that is in my Top Ten, and which I would bathe in, if it were possible. The chypre-oriental-leather-amber mix is also the perfect representation of my perfume tastes. I don’t do well with sweetness, and Black turned into a very extreme, very pink example of that. If I had experienced something actually black in hue, with smoky, woody, dark Orientalism, then I suspect M might have had some stiff competition. As it is, I’m afraid it doesn’t.

DISCLOSURE: My small vial of Black was provided courtesy of Puredistance. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, my opinions are my own, and my first obligation is to my readers.

Cost & Availability: Black is an extrait de parfum concentration (the highest), will officially debut in December 2013, and will be available in a variety of different sizes on the Puredistance website. Its European retail price will be as follows: €165 for the 17.5 ml travel spray, €275 euro for 60 ml (about 2.1 oz), and €490 euro for the 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle. The American prices are, respectively: $198, $330, and $590. Until its official release, samples of Black are being temporarily offered as part of a promotional special from Puredistance (at the website linked up above). The promotion involves: 2 x 2ml vials of the Extrait for $39 or €29, with free shipping. Retailers: Upon its release, Black will be offered at the usual Puredistance retailers which include: Luckyscent and MinNY in the US; Jovoy in Paris; and London’s Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie division on the 5th floor of Harrods. You can already pre-order at Luckyscent. For all other countries, you can use Puredistance’s Store Locator which lists retailers from Australia and New Zealand to Austria and Russia. I will try to remember to update this post later with more direct links, as well as links to sample sites like Surrender to Chance which normally offers Puredistance fragrances in vials that you can buy for testing.

New Perfume Release: LM Parfums Hard Leather

As fate would have it, this morning I received the press release for LM Parfums‘ new fragrance, Hard Leather. Just yesterday, I talked about my overall impressions of the perfume which I got to test in Paris a few weeks ago, and absolutely loved. Hard Leather is set to launch in a few weeks, in November 2013. While I don’t have an exact date yet, I do have the notes and concentration of the perfume. [Update: The perfume has released and I have a full review of it. I have also placed it on my Best of 2013 list.]

I thought I’d post the full photographic press release instead of just writing out the text. I think the visuals are sexy and very sleekly cool, and I’m not just saying that because black is my favorite colour.

LM Parfums Hard Leather

LM Parfums Hard Leather 2

LM Parfums Hard Leather 3

LM Parfums HL 4

So, in short, the notes in Hard Leather are:

Rum, Leather, Iris, Honey, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Oud, Frankincense, Styrax and Vanilla.

Hard Leather is an extrait (or pure parfum) in concentration and comes in a 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle. LM Parfums’ extrait line usually costs $225 or €195, with the company offering 5 ml decants for €19. I don’t have pricing for Hard Leather, but I assume it will be in the same range. The line is available in the U.S. at OsswaldNY, and Hard Leather should be no exception. In Europe and elsewhere, you can buy LM Parfums directly from Laurent Mazzone’s website, as well as from numerous retailers. Links to online vendors who generally carry the line are below.

In the U.S.: Laurent Mazzone’s fragrances used to be European exclusives, but the range just came to America two months ago. It’s sold exclusively at OsswaldNYC, with samples available for purchase by telephone order. Outside the U.S.: In Europe, you can buy the perfumes directly from LM Parfums. (There is also this other LM Parfums site.) Samples are available for €14 or €19, depending on the perfume in question and its concentration, and they come in a good 5 ml size. In the UK, the LM Parfums line is carried exclusively at Harvey Nichols. In France, you can find the perfumes, and 5 ml samples of each at Laurent Mazzone’s own Premiere Avenue. In Paris, LM Parfums are sold at Jovoy. Germany’s First in Fragrance carries the full line and sells samples as well. You can also find LM Parfums at Essenza Nobile, Italy’s Vittoria Profumi, or Alla Violetta. In the Netherlands, you can find LM Parfums at Silks Cosmeticsor Parfumaria. In the Middle East, I found most of the LM Parfums line at the UAE’s Souq perfume retailer. For all other countries, you can find a vendor near you from Switzerland to Belgium, Lithuania, Russia, Romania, Croatia, Azerbaijan, and more, by using the LM Parfums Partner listing. Laurent Mazzone or LM Parfums fragrances are widely available throughout Europe, and many of those sites sell samples as well.

Paris Perfumers: Laurent Mazzone & LM Parfums

Fate, planning, and a little bit of serendipity gave me the chance to meet with three, very different, Paris perfumers during my trip. Actually, to be completely precise, one is primarily based in Grenoble, and one is an actual nose/creator, while the other two are more technically considered as perfume creators with their own houses. Semantics aside, I had a marvelous time with each one, and thought I’d share a little bit of the experience, each of which was very different but utterly memorable. Today, the focus will be Laurent Mazzone and some of the LM Parfums that I tried, including some gorgeous upcoming, new releases slated for November 2013 and early 2014.


Hotel Costes. Source: hotel-costes.semuz.com

Hotel Costes. Source: hotel-costes.semuz.com

The Hotel Costes on the Rue St. Honoré in Paris is perhaps the pinnacle of stylish, ne plus ultra, sophisticated cool. Velvet, opulence and excess are the bywords for the decor inside, but one of the main attractions is the indoor courtyard. And what a scene it is! Imagine a large, covered, indoor courtyard surrounded on high by Roman statues and greenery. At its pristine, white tables covered with crystal glasses, an array of pencil-thin, black-clad, social x-rays — draped in ennui as much as in Hermès — pose stylishly on thin, black chairs. Their fragile bones seem likely to be crushed by the great effort of lifting their cigarettes. And they’ve clearly followed the mantra and example of Anna Wintour, Vogue’s “Nuclear Winter” editor-in-chief, when it comes to haughtiness. Their male counterparts are all tanned, in dark suits with crisp white shirts that are opened a few buttons, and fixated on their cellphones as they sip a glass of chilled white wine with one well-shod limb elegantly crossed over the other. All around are a phalanx of haughty waiters, many of whom seem to be aspiring models, who look down their noses at your from their great height and seem almost offended that you’ve bothered them with a request. (Or perhaps they’ve simply got issues with people who ask for ice, or for directions to the loo? At the very least, they’ve got issues with a variety of things, and need a serious attitude adjustment.)

Hotel Costes courtyard. Source: lefigaro.fr. photo : DR.

Hotel Costes courtyard. Source: lefigaro.fr. photo : DR.

Outside the Hotel Costes. Photo: my own.

Outside the Hotel Costes. Photo: my own.

As I walked up to the hotel from the aristocratic, luxurious Place Vendome just around the corner, a large chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce was idling, and a bodyguard talking into his microphone. The chauffeur stood in the middle of the road with the famous Chopard jewellers behind him. Hovering like a gaggle of geese, outside and in, were extremely tall, elegantly clad women whose clothing, looks, and attitude marked them as somehow being involved in Paris Fashion Week which was ending the next day (October 2nd).

It was into this overly hip, excessively cool, “in” scene that I arrived — sleep-deprived, with my voice half-gone from the early part of my trip, and feeling rather bedraggled, if truth be told. I was scheduled to meet Laurent Mazzone and Fabienne, the international business agent for LM Parfums, whose incredibly warm, sweet, and friendly emails had resulted in this meeting. We had begun communicating just a few days before my departure and after my enthusiastic, extremely positive review for LM Parfums‘ gorgeous Sensual Orchid.

As luck would have it, Laurent Mazzone was going to be in Paris for the fashion shows. He had greatly enjoyed the thoroughness of my review (happily, my verboseness seems to a positive thing for some people!), and invited me for drinks. When I warned Fabienne that my French was rusty and that I hadn’t spoken it consistently in almost 20 years, she offered to come along as well. (It was just as well because, despite her opinion that I wasn’t at all rusty, I most definitely am! Plus, in the fog of my exhaustion, I often blanked out on words or phrases. Merci, Fabienne, for saving my linguistic hide.)

Laurent Mazzone and Fabienne during Moscow Fashion Week 2013. Source: annarusska.ru

Laurent Mazzone and Fabienne during Moscow Fashion Week 2013. Source: annarusska.ru

I found Laurent and Fabienne easily, sitting at a couple of tables in the corner along with Laurent’s partner, and was greeted with kisses and even a hug. Laurent Mazzone is a very dapper, youngish man in his early ’30s (I think), with a cherubic face, a naughty gleam in his mischievous, warm, brown eyes, and a big grin. He has an enormously exuberant personality, which I loved, and endless passion. Yet, he is also extremely serious when it comes to the subject of perfumery, and has a true commitment to the idea of making luxurious, sensuous perfumes in the grand tradition, but with a modern feel. There was enormous sensitivity in those brown eyes when listening to my comments about some of his line, sometimes followed by a huge, infectious smile from ear to ear when he saw that I understood and appreciated their nature.

Source: uae.souq.com

Patchouli Boheme. Source: uae.souq.com

He had brought a chic, black, and black-ribboned, LM Parfums bag of what I thought would be perfume samples. They turned out to be actual, full, 100 ml bottles of 3 of his fragrances: Ambre Muscadin, Patchouli Boheme, and the new, limited-edition, Chemise Blanche. Yet, despite my patchouli and amber obsession, I never tested any of those perfumes that day and, instead, ended up trying his forthcoming, new perfume, Hard Leather.

Hard Leather will be released in November, and I can’t wait because I absolutely loved it! In fact, I think I may have yelped or cried out rather loudly upon sniffing it because, suddenly, some tables of black-clad, haughty Parisians were turning around with raised eyebrows. I didn’t care, and I think I may have hugged Mr. Mazzone at one point over Hard Leather because it was (and is) absolutely fantastic. Mr. Mazzone describes it as an “animalic leather” that, to my opinion at least, isn’t particularly animalic or aggressive after the opening 10 minutes, but, instead, much more beautifully well-rounded and warm. It might be “animalic” by French standards, but I don’t think it is generally or as a whole, and especially not by Middle Eastern or Amouage standards.

Hard Leather has its musky side to be sure, but it’s primarily woody, sweet, rich, spicy, ambered, and incredibly sensual. From the first sniff, I could instantly tell that there was oud from Laos in it, with its own very unique, aged character, but what I liked about this version of it is that it didn’t smell fecal like so many fragrances that use that particular Laotian wood. Even better, there is none of that revolting Gorgonzola or cheese undertone that very aged Laotian oud can sometimes have. Soon after the agarwood announces itself, there is a burst of pungent civet which quickly calms down (in less than ten minutes), and melts into the rich, well-blended, richly burnished whole.

In essence, Hard Leather smells like your boyfriend’s leather jacket, lightly mixed with his musky scent, along with deep, almost honeyed, slightly smoky oud, and a vague tinge of floral sweetness, atop a base of ambered warmth. At times, it seemed to share some kinship with Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque, which is one of my absolute favorite Lutens fragrances, but there are clear differences in smell. Even apart from the oud, Hard Leather has a little more edge at first, and is significantly more woody. It also seems to have a different (and much smaller) floral vein running through it. I can’t remember the rest of the notes that Laurent later told me about, but, if memory serves me correctly, there is iris absolute in Hard Leather as well. [UPDATE 10/17/13 – I have the official press release for Hard Leather with its sleek graphics and the full list of notes in the perfume.]

I also can’t recall the name of the perfumer with whom Laurent worked, but I laughed at his description of the process whereby he kept telling the nose to put in “more. More, more, more!” Not only is such a comment completely in keeping with Mr. Mazzone’s character, intensity and passion, but the perfume really has deep richness. I was so crazy about Hard Leather that Mr. Mazzone sent his friend up to their rooms to get his own small decant to give me as a gift, which resulted in a further exuberant outburst that undoubtedly horrified the Hotel Costes’ snobs, but too bad. This is such a fantastic perfume! I will do a review closer to the perfume’s launch date, but I’m telling guys, in particular, and women who like masculine, woody or leather scents: you need to check this one out.

Source: Silkcosmetics.nl

Some, but not all, of the LM Parfums line. Source: Silkcosmetics.nl

What I love about LM Parfums is that they are luxurious, sensuous, full-bodied, and rich. Hard Leather, unlike most of the perfumes from the line, is an extrait de parfum (only three of the current LM Parfums have that concentration), and clocks in at 20% perfume oil. All the perfumes, however, have an opulence that really harkens back to the golden age of perfumery. They’re not fuddy-duddy, old or dated in smell, but Laurent is clearly driven by his love for the classic perfume greats. These fragrances all feel like actual, serious perfumes — they proclaim their richness and luxurious nature without hesitation, announce their presence, and feel no shame over the fact that they are both perfume and French in nature.

Yet, the thing I found with Sensual Orchid and Hard Leather is that their richness contrasts with a surprising airiness in feel. These are not opaque, thick perfumes by any means! Based on what I’ve tested thus far from the line, even the sillage drops after about 2-3 hours to hover somewhat discretely just an inch or so above the skin. The perfumes are potent when smelled up close and linger, but they aren’t battleships of heaviness with nuclear projection that trails you for hours. (In all honestly, I wish they were like that, but I realise that my personal tastes are not the modern style, and that ’80s-style powerhouses are rarely made today.) Still, LM Parfums are all very French in feel or spirit. Mr. Mazzone mentioned a number of the perfume legends, like Guerlain’s Mitsouko, for example, and how he wants his perfumes to reflect the same sort of sophisticated complexity with layers of nuance.

His philosophy certainly shows in Hard Leather, but also in another upcoming fragrance called Army of Lovers. It is a chypre and, honestly, this is a true chypre! None of that neo-chypre or wanna-be, pretend, quasi-chypre business. (Le Labo’s Ylang 49, I’m looking straight at you with your revolting purple patchouli!) No, this is an actual, genuine chypre with an amount of oakmoss absolute that you have to smell to believe. It’s beautiful, very elegant, and reeks of class. It was created by Mr. Mazzone with a Robertet nose (I think) whose name I have now forgotten, and the perfume name references a Swedish group that Mr. Mazzone loves. I have to wonder if there will be any trademark issues in using the same name, but the perfume won’t be released until 2014, so I’m sure he has time to work out any problems that may arise.

I wish I could recall the notes in Army of Lovers, but all I remember now is how impressed I was with its elegance. At one point, I had Hard Leather on one shoulder or bicep, and Army of Lovers on the other — and I may have uttered a rather strangled, guttural moan. I certainly did something very loudly that seemed to have (further) shocked the constipated denizens of the Hotel Costes, and I saw a very disapproving gleam in our server’s eyes when he stopped by next. At this point, I most definitely did not care. Laurent Mazzone was spraying me with glee, and then himself, and we were standing up to sniff each other publicly without the slightest bit of thought to those around. I might have entered a slight fugue state at one point as the potent chypre of Army of Lovers, and the spicy, oriental, animalic leather-oud warmth of Hard Leather billowed out around me. I may have this incorrectly, but if I recall, I think Laurent Mazzone stated that Ambre Muscadin and Patchouli Boheme are two of the main corner stones or representational fragrances from his line. I suspect that either Hard Leather, Army of Lovers, or both will be soon joining them.

In telling you all this, I’m being completely honest. Just as I am when I say that there were some things I smelled that day that were not my cup of tea at all. Very well-made, and beautifully blended, yes, but most definitely not my personal style. Mr. Mazzone sprayed me with something and — blame my usual bluntness or, perhaps, massive sleep-deprivation — I instinctively recoiled, my whole body jerked back, and I grimaced. It was some floral fragrance with purple, fruity patchouli and a synthetic element. So much purple, sweetness, and fruitiness! I had blocked out the name entirely due to my sheer horror, but, in looking over the list of names in the LM line now, I suspect it was O de Soupirs.** If I recall correctly, Mr. Mazzone described its feeling or inspiration as something a woman would wear before going to a rendezvous with her lover. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out something along the lines of “Absolutely not! This is for a 14-year old girl!” (Oh God, now that I’m remembering more of the day, I think I even tried to rub it off my arm with a napkin!)  ** [UPDATE: it turns out the fragrance I didn’t like was a new, upcoming, not-yet-released perfume called Lost Paradise. It will be launched in 2014. — Further Update 1/29/14: the name has been changed to Ultimate Seduction. ]

I usually try to be more tactful and polite, so I’m quite chagrined at my rudeness, but I really couldn’t help the outburst or my instinctive, gut-level reaction. There was a pause in the conversation, and Mr. Mazzone blinked, but he was extremely gracious about it, though there was a hurt look in his sensitive eyes. I tried to explain that I was always very honest in my opinions, and that my candour should let him know that I was quite sincere in my raves for the other two perfumes. He actually seemed to like that a lot, but he’s also incredibly polite, so perhaps I’m just hoping that he put it all into context.

Even before this incident, Mr. Mazzone had quickly caught onto my personal tastes, which strongly mirror his own, so it wasn’t a surprise when he immediately noted that I would very much dislike another perfume that he had included in the very generous “samples.” It was the new, recently released but limited-edition Chemise Blanche which — unlike its siblings — is not done in a black, velvet box imprinted with the LM Parfums logo. It’s also not in one of the black bottles that Mr. Mazzone has intentionally made almost just barely opaque, but not quite. He was concerned that perfume owners would not be able to see how much was left in their bottle if it was a solid black, so he specifically had the glass done in a way which would show how much liquid was left if the bottle was held up to the light. I loved the thoughtfulness and attention to detail involved in that, especially as the issue of remaining quantity is a problem that I always have with my old, jet-black bottle of Fracas.

Chemise BlancheInstead, Chemise Blanche is in a clear, glass bottle and in a white velvet box. The reason Mr. Mazzone was sure I would dislike it is because it is very much the opposite of my favorites from his line: it’s a perfume centered around aldehydes and citruses. To me, it very much evokes something crystalline in visuals, almost Alpine, if you will: white, pure, clear, airy, and very light in feel, despite being an extrait in concentration. According to Fragrantica, the notes include:

aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, iris, lily of the valley, rose, benzoin, tonka, amber and musk.

To my surprise, given my loathing for aldehydes, the note was much tamer than I had expected but, alas, even Mr. Mazzone admitted that Chemise Blanche smelled of soap and dishwashing liquid on my skin. (By now, sniffing yet my another portion of my shoulder, we were really receiving some strange looks!) Chemise Blanche is not my style at all, and my skin is always a huge problem when it comes to aldehydes, but I freely admit that the perfume is very well-done. Actually, with a few wearings, I occasionally persuaded myself that Chemise Blanche might almost be something I would opt for if I were looking for a crisp, light, gauzy perfume with a citric edge. Almost. I’m wearing Hard Leather as I write this, and I doubt I would ever go for crystal white when I could have shades of richly burnished brown, red, black and amber instead!

Nonetheless, Chemise Blanche turned out to be quite a hit with my friend with whom I was staying and who has very difficult perfume tastes. It’s not only that she is someone whose tastes are the polar opposite of mine; it’s also that she finds almost everything to be “too sweet” or “too strong.” She recoils in horror at even the slightest bit of Orientalism or spice, isn’t a huge fan of most pure florals, and adores airy, light, clean and citrusy fragrances. Even in that last category, however, she thinks the vast majority are “too sweet.” (It was quite interesting going perfume-shopping with her one day! No matter what citrus fragrance I found for her, almost all were rejected and, in a few cases, deemed to be “too masculine” as well.) Chemise Blanche, however, smelled lovely on her skin, and she seemed almost convinced that it wasn’t the dreaded, verboten “sweet.” (It is not. Not even remotely!) So, I left her a large decant for her to test out while she decides if it is full-bottle worthy. 

Laurent Mazzone. Source: unique.ru.com

Laurent Mazzone. Source: unique.ru.com

All in all, I had an absolutely wonderful time meeting Laurent Mazzone, his partner, and Fabienne. They were incredibly warm, friendly, effusive, generous, and filled with life. It was truly fun, whether we were laughing over Mr. Mazzone’s astringent views on some of the Paris Fashion Week collections, sniffing each other publicly, or having passionately robust discussions about the state of perfumery in the past versus today.

You know, all perfumers talk or claim that they put a little bit of themselves or their personalities within each fragrance, but it’s not always true. Commercial perfumery certainly doesn’t have that, and neither do some purportedly “niche” lines. Yet, in sniffing the various LM Parfums, I can actually and genuinely see a little bit of Mr. Mazzone in most of them. There is a quietly refined, passionate lustiness or sensuality in the ones that I’ve tried — whether it’s the overtly sexy Sensual Orchid, the smooth, sweetened, goldenness of Ambre Muscadin, the hugely smoky Patchouli Boheme with its almost mesquite-like opening, or the more masculine Hard Leather — that really seems to epitomize different parts of the gregarious, outgoing, exuberantly passionate man I met. Chemise Blanche seems to be an anomaly, at least to me personally, in terms of that character assessment theory, but the line certainly carries something for everyone and its clean crispness should definitely appeal to some modern tastes.

I may end up doing a proper review for Chemise Blanche down the line, but I definitely plan to cover Patchouli Boheme and Ambre Muscadin. Hard Leather as well, when it is released next month. In the meantime, if you have the chance to try any LM Parfums, do give them a sniff. The line is now in the U.S., and is no longer exclusive to Europe. Plus, Osswald in New York has a very affordable deal on samples which should make testing quite easy. For readers in Europe, the line is not hard to find, and LM Parfums sells 5 ml decants at a very reasonable price (€14 or €19). As for me, I suddenly fell upon the genius idea of layering Sensual Orchid with Hard Leather on occasion, and now, I really have to get my hands on a proper decant of both. The people at the Hotel Costes are lucky they’re not around to witness my reaction….

[UPDATE: I have now reviewed Ambre Muscadin and Hard Leather, with shopping information and pricing information provided in the appropriate reviews.]

Disclosure: Some of the perfumes covered in this post were, as noted, provided by LM Parfums. There was no financial compensation for any of this. I don’t do paid reviews or posts, and my views are my own. 

Cost & Availability: LM Parfums always come in a 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle. The European price is generally either €120 (€125 at some online vendors), or €195 (or £195). The American retail price is either $175 or $225. In the U.S.: Laurent Mazzone’s fragrances used to be European exclusives, but the range just came to America two months ago. It’s sold exclusively at OsswaldNYC. For some strange reason, the website seems to show only two fragrances now, and not all the ones it had earlier when I reviewed Sensual Orchid. In terms of samples, none of the U.S. perfume sample sites currently carry the LM Parfums line, but Osswald has a special deal for all its perfumes for U.S. customers who telephone the store: 10 samples for $10, with free shipping in the U.S., and it’s for any perfumes that they stock! That means the full, existing, current LM Parfums line (or whatever parts they may now carry of it), and some other goodies only found at OsswaldNY, for less than a $1 a vial! The deal is only available for telephone orders, however, so you have to call (212) 625-3111. Outside the U.S.: In Europe, you can buy the perfumes directly from LM Parfums for €125 or €195. (At this other LM Parfums site, some of the bottles are priced at €120.) Samples are also available for €14 or €19, depending on the perfume in question and its concentration, and they come in a good 5 ml size. In the UK, the LM Parfums line is carried exclusively at Harvey Nichols. In France, you can find the perfumes, and 5 ml samples of each (usually about €14) at Laurent Mazzone’s own Premiere Avenue. In Paris, LM Parfums are sold at Jovoy. Germany’s First in Fragrance carries the full line and sells samples as well. You can also find LM Parfums at Essenza Nobile, Italy’s Vittoria Profumi, or Alla Violetta. In the Netherlands, you can find LM Parfums at Silks Cosmetics or Parfumaria. In the Middle East, I found most of the LM Parfums line at the UAE’s Souq perfume retailer. For all other countries, you can find a vendor near you from Switzerland to Belgium, Lithuania, Russia, Romania, Croatia, Azerbaijan, and more, by using the LM Parfums Partner listing. Laurent Mazzone or LM Parfums fragrances are widely available throughout Europe, and many of those sites sell samples as well. 

New Perfume Releases: Tom Ford Atelier d’Orient Collection

Tom Ford is releasing a new collection of fragrances within his Private Blend line. The collection is called Atelier d’Orient and will consist of four perfumes: Shanghai LilyPlum JaponaisFleur de Chine and Rive d’Ambre.

Source: Fragrantica

Source: Fragrantica

Now Smell This (“NST”) has the press releases for each scent which is provided below. The only site I’ve found that has the details of the notes for each fragrance is Miss Fashion News, so I’ve added that underneath the NST quote:

Shanghai Lily ~ “Opulent. Tantalising. Elegant. Tom Ford’s Shanghai Lily eau de parfum is a floral oriental scent that transports the senses into a world of rare and opulent ingredients from the historic silk road. Warm spices, elegant florals and addictive notes of vanilla and frankincense create a hazy reverie of glamour and temptation.”

NOTES from Miss Fashion News: bitter orange, pink peppercorns, black pepper, clove, jasmine, rose, tuberose, vetiver, cashmere wood, benzoin (Laos), castoreum, cistus, gaiac wood, vanilla and incense. 

Plum Japonais ~ “Delectable. Luscious. Sensual. Tom Ford’s Plum Japonais eau de parfum reveals the extraordinary beauty of the ume plum by juxtaposing it with a lush and unconventional mélange of exotic asian ingredients. Rich and luxurious, it is a fragrance with irresistible complexity.”

NOTES from Miss Fashion News: saffron, cinnamon bark (Laos), immortelle, plum blossom, camellia blossom (Japan), agar wood, amber, benzoin (Laos), fir balsam absolute, and infusions of vanilla.

Fleur de Chine ~ “Dramatic. Smouldering. Seductive. Tom Ford’s Fleur de chine eau de parfum is an unequivocally romantic and haunting floral fragrance touched with a reverence for the great scents of the past. Precious asian flowers, including hualan flower and star magnolia, are arranged in a bouquet of rare beauty for a scent that lingers on.”

NOTES from Miss Fashion News: blossoms of tea, magnolia, fresh clementines, white peach, bergamot, hyacinth, hinoki wood, leaves of jasmine tea, plum, rose tea, wisteria, amber, peony, benzoin from Laos, styrax, Chinese cedar, and vetiver.

Rive d’Ambre ~ “Ornate. Compelling. Warm. Tom Ford’s Rive d’Ambre is a golden toned eau de cologne with a veil of colonial elegance. Precious citrus fruits – a talisman of good fortune in asia – are beautifully illuminated by a warm and seductive amber background.”

NOTES from Miss Fashion News: essential oils of bergamot, lemon and bitter orange with notes of tarragon, green mint, and cardamom [along with]… cognac oil [and] tolu balsam[.]

Source: Fragrantica

Source: Fragrantica

The collection is already out in the UK at Harvey Nichols, along with other British department stores like Harrods and Selfridges. The price for the 50 ml/1.7 oz bottles is £140.00, while the massive 250 ml bottles are retailed at £320.00. No word yet on when precisely the collection will hit the U.S. or elsewhere, and what the U.S. pricing may be. However, Miss Fashion News says that European pricing is €180 for 50 ml and €430 for 250 ml.

Lastly, Miss Fashion News also has some more information about the story associated with each scent — such as how Fleur de Chine is meant to reference the 1930s-1960s femme fatales of the Chinese silver screen — so you may want to glance at that, too, if you’re interested. Also, while Now Smell This has a more generalized, press release description of the scents, there are additional details in the comment section from its UK readers who have already given the four fragrances a quick sniff. So you may want to check out the responses if any of the fragrances intrigue you. One interesting tidbit: one poster says that the UK prices seem to have gone up for these four fragrances as compared to the other Private Blend perfumes. And looking at the Harvey Nichols’ prices in British pounds, I would agree. So, U.S. pricing is bound to also increase from the current $205 rate for the small 1.7 oz/50 ml bottles.

New Perfume Releases: Volume 5 – April 4, 2013

Welcome to another compilation of the latest perfumes that are either already out on the market, or that will be soon. As always, I will try to cover both men and women’s fragrances, niche and mass-market. So, yes, it will be long (very long!), but feel free to just scroll through to whatever interests you. All posts are taken via Now Smell This (“NST”), Fragrantica or some other cited source. Most of the sites have some discussion of the fragrance in question so, if you’re interested in further details, be sure to check out the original listing.

There are very few new niche fragrances coming out, beyond those previously covered. For the most part, there are just mainstream releases and additional flankers to existing fragrances, along with a number of limited-edition perfumes. Some of the many houses on the list for this post are Hermès, Byredo, Guerlain, Olfactive StudioCarolina Herrera, Viktor & Rolf, CacharelM. Micallef, Marc Jacobs, Dior, DSH Perfumes, DiptyqueJudith Lieber, Jo Malone and Boucheron.


CaFleureBon reports the addition of two new Jean-Claude Ellena cologne fragrances for Hermès. The two fragrances just came out on April 1, 2013 and are as follows:


Eau de Narcisse Bleu

” A creation made with complete freedom in which I particularly wanted to express the tactile nature of the raw material”. Jean-Claude Ellena.

A distinct contemporary writing style with notes of narcissus, orange blossom, woods, galbanum.

Collection Colognes - Eau de mandarine ambree[1]

Eau de Mandarine Ambrée

” I don’t know of a more cheerful smell than Mandarin, and a more velvety one than amber” – Jean-Claude Ellena

Reinventing its classic connection  to citrus fruits Mandarine Ambrée brings a cheeky  yet gentle vitality to the genre of colognes

Notes: green mandarin, passion fruit, amber.

The perfumes cost $125 for 100 ml and $165 for 200 ml. They were released April 1st at Hermes retailers and boutiques, as well as online at www.hermes.com.


Honey Marc JacobsNow Smell This reports a new flanker fragrance to Marc Jacobs’ Dot. The perfume is called Honey and will be released in July 2013. According to the press release quoted by NST, Honey was developed by perfumer Annie Buzantian and will be a “fresh, floral” fragrance. Further details are available at the site but, if you’re interested in the notes, they include

pear, fruity punch, mandarin, orange blossom, peach, honeysuckle, honey, vanilla and woods.

Marc Jacobs Honey will be available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum sizes, along with matching lotions and body products.


In April 2013, Cacharel will release a flanker to Amor Amor called Amor Amor in a Flash. Fragrantica says it will be a limited edition scent for 2013, so I don’t know how long it will remain after the year’s end. Other details:

The new scent is inspired by the sensations of first kiss after a forbidden love, love at first sight and all the other moments that accelerate your pulse.

The composition is bold, youthful and fresh oriental-fruity, perfect for spring. It opens with fruity aromas of apricot and red apple. Delicate jasmine petals blend with sensual and spicy tones of cinnamon in the heart, laid on the base of sandalwood and sweet caramel.

Top notes: red apple, apricot
Heart: jasmine, cinnamon
Base: sandalwood, caramel

The fragrance is available from April 2013 as 30 and 50 ml Eau de Toilette.


As stated in the full press release I posted here, Neela Vermeire Créations will release a new perfume in Autumn 2013 called Ashoka. It is a tribute to a legendary Indian emperor:

His own evolution from ruthless conqueror to benevolent emperor is reflected in Ashoka’s journey from the fierce opening to a softly floral heart & the gentle embrace of its richly complex drydown.

Notes: fig leaves, leather, white and pink lotus, mimosa, fig milk, osmanthus, rose, water hyacinth, vetiver, styrax, incense, sandalwood, myrrh, tonka bean, and fir balsam.

In addition to the new perfume, Neela Vermeire will also be offering the fantastic Mohur from her existing India series in a new, higher concentration form. The original Mohur — which I loved and which I reviewed here — is an eau de parfum. Now, Neela Vermeire Créations will also offer Mohur in extrait de parfum concentration. It will come “in the original flacon in amethyst glass with a special panache spray.”


Guerlain Flora RosaNST reports that Guerlain has launched Flora Rosa, this year’s travel retail exclusive addition to the Aqua Allegoria line. This year’s “regular” entry to the series is Nerolia Bianca; last year’s travel retail scent was Bouquet de Mai.

Flora Rosa is the new fruity floral Travel Retail exclusive fragrance. The spirit of rose and red berries is associated with white musks offering a powdery floral scent. Additional notes include iris.

Guerlain Flora Rosa is available in 75 ml Eau de Toilette. Check your international duty-free stores for availability.

There are also more details available on the Guerlain limited-edition Muguet perfume for 2013 that I wrote about in the prior New Releases post. A small snippet from the full Fragrantica article on it is as follows:

To honor this rite of the season, Jean Paul Guerlain was inspired to offer its own lily of the valley fragrance, Muguet. The fragrance gained a cult following which brought its own tradition of having the it available once a year for a limited time only. Le Muguet is offered as a token of luck, the promise of making the most of each moment. Lively, green and capricious, this fragrance heralds the arrival of spring.

The edition of Le Muguet for 2013 will be presented on April 25th as an early spring gift. In-house perfumer Thierry Wasser mingled notes of lily of the valley (i.e. muguet) in the heart with fragrance chords constructed around freshly cut roses and rich jasmine in a composition that aims to combine freshness with elegance. 

The new edition comes in the “quadrilobe” flacon, a design invented in the early 20th century. The pale green bottle has its neck encircled by pale green silk cord, the ends decorated with the initials G, standing for Guerlain, and a papier mache applique on the front depicting in relief lily of the valley blossoms. The final touch is a pear bulb atomiser which turns this fragrance into a retro-looking feminine accouterment.

Available at Guerlain boutiques and Guerlain “espaces” on April 25th, 2013.

I should add that the price for the Muguet is, like for all of Guerlain’s limited-edition Muguet perfumes, very high. I’ve read it is €400 in Europe. In the U.S., Bergdorf Goodman will be selling it for $575 for the 60 ml bottle. It is already listed there, though not yet available for purchase until April 25th.


Hedonist, the first perfume from the Indie Paris perfume house of Parfums Viktoria Minya was just released, complete with a stunning bottle that features 500 Bohemian crystals inside the juice. I’ve already tried the perfume, reviewed it and loved it. Nonetheless, here are the details from the press release:

Source: Viktoria Minya.

Source: Viktoria Minya.

Hedonist, the first fragrance in the Viktoria Minya line, calls upon the spirit of hedonism – the art of devotion to the pleasure of the senses. Indeed, this bold creation’s aim is to provide a prolonged sense of indulgence to its wearer. The perfume is not only an enchanting olfactory experience, but an overall celebration of the infinite delight of the senses. To delight the sense of sight, this unique and heady scent is artfully presented within a beautifully crafted bottle filled with hundreds of genuine bohemian crystals that sparkle brilliantly, suspended within a divine golden liquid. To delight the sense of touch, the bottle itself is enclosed within a handmade wooden box fashioned to capture the sleek look and feel of snakeskin leather.

Designed for the woman who dares to be true to her desires, Hedonist is a richly provocative fragrance that combines the sweetness of love with the power of lust. Lush floral notes of jasmine and orange blossom absolute flirt with the dark intensity of rum absolute and the subtle spiciness of the world’s finest woods for a scent that is as captivating as it is unforgettable.

The notes feature rum, bergamot, peach, jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, vetiver, cedar, vanilla and tobacco.

Viktoria Minya Hedonist is €130 (about $168) for 45 ml Eau de Parfum, and can be purchased at the brand website, which also provides a sample (for about $6) with free shipping to anywhere in the world. And, again, here is a link to my review of it, if you’re interested.


CaFleureBon has details on a new perfume from Byredo founder and nose, Ben Gorham, called Inflorescence. The site explains that: 

the name is an actual word; an inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches.

According to the press release, ‘Inflorescence, is an Arcadian stroll through untamed bowers of full-blown, rambling roses, interspersed by the intoxicating, honeyed notes of pink freesias in their prime. Two of Spring’s very first flowers lie at the heart; the creamy-soft allure of the Magnolia blossom, its petals fully open about to drop onto beds of quivering Lily of the Valley or ‘May Bells’ –in the language of flowers, symbolic of a ‘return to happiness’ and the joy associated with the onset of spring”.  

CaFleureBon’s Perfumer of the Year 2012, Jerome Epinette of Robertet, created Inflorescence and in an unusual composition, Jasmine is  at the base.

Top: Rose Petals, Pink Freesia

Heart: Magnolia, Lily Of The Valley

Base: Jasmine

Available at Byredo.com 100ml EDP/ $220.


Boucheron has released new, limited-edition flankers of two of its fragrances. Now Smell This has the full details:

Boucheron Jaïpur Bracelet limited edition

Boucheron has launched summer limited editions of 2012′s Jaïpur Bracelet … and 1997′s Jaïpur Homme….

Jaïpur Bracelet Limited Edition ~ “Jaipur Bracelet Summer opens with the vividness of a melange of fruits, sweet and juicy. In the heart, an exotic floral-fruity accord creates a voluptuous yet playful feel, while the a precious dry down of woody notes counterbalances the sweetness beautifully.” With notes of mandarin, red currant, raspberry, rose, lychee, woods and orris. Available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette.

Boucheron Jaïpur Homme limited edition

Jaïpur Homme Limited Edition

~ a woody aquatic interpretation of the original, with cantaloupe, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and amber wood. Available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette.


Viktor & Rolf will be releasing a special anniversary version of its Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose flanker to Flowerbomb. So, in essence, a flanker to the flanker. It will be called Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose 2013. Fragrantica explains:

In 2013 Viktor & Rolf celebrates the fifth birthday of the fragrance Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose with a new edition Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose 2013.

This sparkling scent is a lighter and fresher version of the famous original Flowerbomb, designed for the summer season. The scent is made with the intent to improve your mood and to bring positive vibes. The explosion of vivid notes this time comes in light coral colors and a luminescent pearly bottle.

Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, pink pepper, green tea

Heart: lily of the valley, rose, sugared almond, raspberry, red forest berries

Base: patchouli, cashmere, amber

It is available as 50 ml Eau de Toilette, limited edition.


Le Parfum Couture Denis Durand for M. MicallefCaFleureBon announced the collaboration between the French niche luxury house, M. Micallef, and Denis Durand, “the French couture designer known for his glamorous designs using opulent fabrics and Swarovski crystals.” The perfume is called Le Parfum Couture Denis Durand for M. Micallef and one CFB editor described it as “a purring slinky beast of a fragrance and one of the best perfumes Mme Micallef has ever made.” Further details:

Through their close friendship and artistic cooperation, Martine Micallef and Denis Durand created a glamorous and sophisticated perfume; it is the first fragrance under the  M. Durand label.

The flacon is drool worthy and I don’t care if you think bottles don’t matter, but it is stunning … hand sewn delicate Chantilly black lace adorned with a little satin bow and a golden medal with the initials of the two artists.

Head Notes: Ceylon cinnamon, Italy tangerine

Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, orange blossoms, honey and animalis (oud?)

Base Notes: sandalwood, patchouly, amber and white musk.

 50 ml EDP/ Retail price: $190

 April 2013 at Osswald NYC and will be rolled out to American stockists in May

CFB Editor’s Note: I have just learned that animalis is not oud but an accord containing labdanum & castoreum. There is no oud in this fragrance 3/28/2013


In May 2013, Oriflame will release a rose scent called Rose of Dreams. Fragrantica has more details:

Perfumer Alexis Dadier constructed the composition of Rose of Dreams out of queen rose and truffle notes, which decorate the composition. He wanted to place the most beautiful flowers of May rose in the center of attention, as prominent as gems in perfume palette. Rich May rose aromas are surrounded with a trail of black truffles, which are valued highly in perfumery and are called “black diamonds.”

notes: May rose, truffles


Judith Lieber is releasing a new perfume in April called Exotic Coral. The Moodie Report has the details:

Described as an oriental, fruity floral fragrance, Exotic Coral was developed by Firmenich and will be available from April.

Top notes include clementine, key lime, rum, and sea breeze accord, while the heart is composed of jasmine, violet leaves and Tiare flower. Base notes comprise sandalwood, coconut milk and heliotrope. 

Exotic Coral has a suggested retail price of US$140 for the 75ml and US$95 for the 40ml.


Jo Malone has a limited edition fragrance coming out in May called Osmanthus Blossom. NST has the details:

Jo Malone will launch Osmanthus Blossom, a new limited edition fragrance, in May.

The notes feature petitgrain, osmanthus and cashmere wood.

Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom will be available in 30 and 100 ml Cologne.

The Moodie Report adds:

The juice – described as delicately exotic – opens with a note of petitgrain, atop a heart of Osmanthus blossom, which leads to a base of cashmere wood. 

The Osmanthus Blossom Collection is available as a 30ml and 100ml Cologne. It can be worn alone, or is ideal for Fragrance Combining™ with Blackberry & Bay, to add a “tart, verdant depth” or Nectarine Blossom & Honey to amplify the sweetness.

DSH PERFUMES (Dawn Spencer Hurwitz):

Now Smell This reports the release of a new fragrance, Iridum, from the Indie perfume line DSH Perfumes or Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, along with new interpretations of existing fragrances:

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz flaconDawn Spencer Hurwitz flaconDawn Spencer Hurwitz flacon

Indie line Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has launched Iridum, a new fragrance in the Secrets of Egypt collection. New interpretations of three prior fragrances from the original 2010 set, Antiu, Keni and Megaleion, have also been released.

According to the press release quoted, Iridum is nearly all botanical but “some stylistic liberties were taken in the form of new materials to render a gorgeous, woody / incense Orris that is chic, more modern than earthy, and quite universal (unisex).” You can read further details on NST but, in terms of pricing, “Iridum is available in 10 and 30 ml Eau de Toilette ($48/$115) and in 1 dram or 5 ml Parfum; samples are also available.”


In February, the French niche perfume house of Diptyque released a new spring scent, called L’Eau du Trente-Quatre, a variation on 2011′s 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. Now Smell This has the details from the company (and, now, also a review of the fragrance which you can find linked at the site):

For spring 2013, diptyque introduces L’Eau du Trente-Quatre. The sophisticated and versatile new scent is a reminder of the company’s very first fragrance: l’Eau. a lively interpretation of the original 34 boulevard saint germain, the new fragrance captures the essence of the original boutique, during the time when the weather changes and the greenest notes take over from the warmer and more sensual notes of 34 boulevard saint germain. “Men and women of all ages will be able to associate themselves with this new scent. This time, the aromatic notes, rosemary, clove and blackcurrant play a muted tune.

Diptyque L'Eau du Trente-QuatreThanks to the citrus fruits, L’Eau du Trente-Quatre is comfortable and timeless,” states [perfumer] Olivier Pescheux. The top notes include a flight of bitter orange, verbena, lemon, grapefruit, and lavender, spiced up with a dash of nutmeg, juniper berries and cinnamon tree leaves. a green note green note of birch tree leaf, from Philosykos adds a lively freshness to the fragrance. The heart is structured around Egyptian geranium, voluptuous tuberose on a base of Virginian cedarwood, patchouli, a splash of incense and Spanish cist [sic]. Lastly, bright musks balance the fragrance with just the right amount of mellowness and sensuality.

Diptyque L’Eau du Trente-Quatre is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette.


Christian Dior Addict Eau Délice Dior is releasing a summer flanker to its popular Addict line of fragrances. This one will be called Addict Eau Délice. Now Smell This has what few details are currently available:

The new fragrance for women is the latest flanker to 2002′s Addict, and follows last year’s Addict Eau Sensuelle and Addict Eau Fraiche.

The notes include cranberry, jasmine, ylang ylang and white musk.

Christian Dior Addict Eau Délice will be available in 20, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette.


Now Smell This reports a new flanker from Carolina Herrera will be coming out, though no date is given as of yet. The perfume is called CH Eau de Parfum Sublime and is

Carolina Herrera CH Eau de Parfum Sublime

a new flanker to 2007′s Carolina Herrera CH. CH Eau de Parfum Sublime was reportedly inspired by the vintage fragrances of the 1920s.

Note for the floral chypre include bergamot, passion fruit, rose, orchid, moss, patchouli, leather and amber.

Carolina Herrera CH Eau de Parfum Sublime will be available in 80 ml.


Out on the market is a new fragrance from the French niche house, Olfactive Studio, called Flash Back. The company is also making their existing line of fragrances available in new mini sizes in a boxed set. Now Smell This has the details on Flash Back:

The new fragrance was inspired by a photograph by Laurent Segretier.  

A memory in motion and in action: that is also the magic and the raison d’être of Flash Back.

A tangy and vibrant fragrance, Flash Back is an olfactory reminiscence: tangy and slightly green rhubarb mixed with hesperides revives an enveloping childhood smell: that of rhubarb tart. A base note of vetiver and cedar give it woody sensuality.

Flash Back was developed by perfumer Olivier Cresp; additional notes include grapefruit, orange, pink pepper, apple, amber and musk.

Flash Back is a unisex fragrance that will be available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum.

Fragrantica has a brief review of Flash Back (which you can read here if you’re interested), but they also provide information on the new coffret offered for all of Olfactive Studio’s existing line of fragrances (AutoportraitChambre NoirFlash Back (the latest fragrance from 2013), Lumiere Blanche and Still Life):

This collection combined the creator’s inspirations (Celine Verleure), art photography and the art and sensibility of various perfumers Celine collaborates with on developing each composition. […]

In Milan, Celine Verleure has her premier of a set of five fragrances (the entire collection) available in 5 ml flacons. For all fans of the collection, as well as for those who wish to test it, the new set is truly an excellent idea!


Lastly, there is a new perfume house founded by French fashion designer, Franck Boclet, who has worked for everyone from Francesco Smalto to Ungaro. According to Fragrantica, in 2011, he “decided to create a signature men’s fashion collection. It combines classics with rock rebellion and dresses this contrast with elements of Gothicism and laid-back casual-style.” This year, in 2013, he is launching four new fragrances — Patchouli, Oud, Leather and Incense — to go along with his clothing line. There is a long article on Fragrantica on the perfumes, but here are some highlights from the press release and perfume notes:

A man needs a scent matching his mood and appearance. There are always four color codes, four seasons and that’s why I offer four scents. I admire strong scents, which I use to commemorate important life events.

At first I’ve chosen Patchouli, the note I adore for so long, as the heart note for one of the scents.  Then I thought about Oud—this unusual, strong, harsh and addictive note. Incense became the third; this is a more delicate aroma that displays discreetly its temper. And finally, the fourth scent is Leather because I like using leather for my wear and accessories collections. In order to develop and underline the beauty of each main accord we have precisely worked every scent with Fleuressence’s perfumer Melanie Leroux from Grass.


Top notes:
Saffron, cumin, lemon;

Heart notes:
Rose, jasmine;

Base notes:
Leather, amber.


Top notes:
Patchouli, cedar, sandalwood

Heart notes:
Amber, benzoin, tonka beans

Base notes:
Vanilla, white musk


Top notes:
Ginger, cumin, clove;

Heart notes:

Base notes:
Cedar, patchouli.


Top notes:
Cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, pink Peruvian pepper,

Heart notes:

Base notes:
Guaiacum, sandalwood, ebony.

If you’re interested, you can read the mini-reviews and assessments for each fragrance at the Fragrantica link above (which also has a slide show of some of Boclet’s fashion). The perfumes will be distributed by Fragrance & Emotion but they are not listed on the site yet, nor do I have any pricing details at this time. However, I’ve read they will soon be available in high-end department stores and niche perfume retailers, as well as on-line.

New Perfume Releases: Neela Vermeire Créations

Neela Vermeire Créations, Paris has some surprises in store for us. First, a brand new perfume that made its debut at the Milan Esxence show last week and which will be officially released in early Autumn 2013.

The perfume is called Ashoka, in tribute to a legendary Indian emperor. The press release states:

Inspired by a legendary ruler, Neela Vermeire Création’s new release, Ashoka, is a tribute to an emperor who was conquered by his own compassion at the moment his victory was assured. He converted to Buddhism and devoted the rest of his life to spreading the Buddha’s teachings, to truth, to justice and to compassion for all living creatures beneath the sun.

His own evolution from ruthless conqueror to benevolent emperor is reflected in Ashoka’s journey from the fierce opening to a softly floral heart & the gentle embrace of its richly complex drydown.

Notes: fig leaves, leather, white and pink lotus, mimosa, fig milk, osmanthus, rose, water hyacinth, vetiver, styrax, incense, sandalwood, myrrh, tonka bean, and fir balsam.


According to Wikipedia, Emperor Ashoka played a critical role in making Buddhism a world religion. In Sanskrit, his name, “aśoka,” means “without sorrow.” His importance was such that even H.G. Wells wrote about him in A Short History of the World:

In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves “Their Highnesses,” “Their Majesties,” “Their Exalted Majesties,” and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.

In addition to the new perfume, Neela Vermeire is also offering the fantastic Mohur from her existing India series in a new, higher concentration form. The original Mohur — which I loved and which I reviewed here — is an eau de parfum. Now, Neela Vermeire Créations will also offer Mohur in extrait de parfum concentration. It will come “in the original flacon in amethyst glass with a special panache spray.”


Lastly, it seems that all the current perfumes will be offered in a new bottle design. The press release states: “we now have a beautiful new mist spray (panache spray) bottle designed by the design legend Pierre Dinand. The new silver metal cap has the NVC logo on it. There are twenty four ridges on each side like the spokes on the wheel on the logo.”

New Perfume Releases: Volume 4 – February 15, 2013

Below is another compilation of the latest perfumes that are either already out on the market or that will be soon. As always, I will try to cover both men and women’s fragrances, niche and mass-market. So, yes, it will be long (very long!), but feel free to just scroll through to whatever interests you. (Plus, there are some pretty pictures!) All posts are taken via Now Smell This (“NST”), Fragrantica or some other cited source. Most of the sites have some discussion of the fragrance in question so, if you’re interested in further details, be sure to check out the original listing.

Today’s entry will cover everything from: a new Tom Ford (oud) fragrance that pays tribute to the Middle East; two new Guerlain perfumes for Spring; Estée Lauder‘s surrender to the insane, never-ending Oud mania; niche perfumes from Frederic Malle and By Kilian; sugar and spice from Jo Malone; new releases from Caron and Robert Piguet; and more. We will end with a foray into the celebrity world with two perfumes from Maroon 5‘s singer, Adam Levine. You may be surprised to learn that they’ve gotten good reviews and that he worked with a serious perfumer to make a very affordable duo. (But as a warning, the very last photo shows a lot of skin, so it may not be safe for work and you may want to stop scrolling right before the end.) If you’re a fan and in New York, you might be interested to know that he’s going to be launching the perfumes in person today, February 15th, at Macy’s. Details will be at the very end (but before the NSFW photo).


Tom Ford has a new perfume called Sahara Noir which will be available only in the Middle East at first, in March, before making its way to the rest of the world sometime in May. This will not be part of the Private Blend line. The Moodie Report has the most comprehensive information that I’ve found on the scent which, I have to say, sounds marvelous:

“Sahara Noir is rich and exotic; it wraps the balsamic, incense-touched notes of frankincense in gold and honey-coloured light,” noted Ford. “Middle Eastern culture has an extraordinary appreciation for the luxurious, emotional and memorable qualities of fragrance; perfume is worn there in a way that feels very familiar to me. Sahara Noir is my interpretation of this heritage. It is a deep and substantial perfume that caresses the senses.”

Frankincense is the key ingredient within Tom Ford’s new Sahara Noir fragrance

The oriental woody juice is crafted around a heart of frankincense. This key ingredient is complemented by top notes of cistus essence Orpur® (Orpur denotes a natural ingredient of exceptional quality and purity), bitter orange, Jordanian calamus – an oasis sweet grass – and Levantine cypress, famed for growing in the gardens of the 1001 Arabian Nights.

The heart blends frankincense essence Orpur® , cinnamon, cool papyrus extract, Egyptian jasmine templar and rose absolute from Morocco. A beeswax extraction from Burma lends body and a supple, honeyed-animalic richness.

The warm dry down is laced with amber. It is formed by a special blend of labdanum – labdanum absolute and a rich natural fraction of labdanum known as ambreinol – combined with benzoin, vanilla, cedar, frankincense resin, agarwood and balsam.

Sahara Noir is presented in a gold-coloured version of the Tom Ford signature fragrance bottle, made of metallised glass and finished with a golden name plaque. The flacon is packaged in a gold, fluted outer carton.

The perfume will come in a 50 ml size. There is no word yet on its price. I have to say, I’m dying to smell this and can’t wait for May!


Caron has launched two new fragrances, one of which is a flanker to its famous 1927 carnation scent, Bellodgia! There isn’t much information out on them, but NST did have this to say:

Caron My Ylang and Piu Bellodgia

Caron has launched two new fragrances for women: My Ylang and Più Bellodgia. Both were developed by house perfumer Richard Fraysse.

My Ylang ~ a ‘radiant’ powdery fruity floral with cassis, mandarin, jasmine, ylang ylang, muguet and green vanilla.

Più Bellodgia ~ a ‘romantic’ fresh floral flanker to 1927′s Bellodgia. The notes include carnation, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, cedarwood, sandalwood and musk.

Caron My Ylang and Più Bellodgia are available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum.

(via shop.essenza-nobile.deprime-beaute)


Guerlain will add to its Aqua Allegoria collection with Nerolia Bianca. The fragrance comes out in late March 2013. Fragrantica reports:

With this creation Thierry Wasser tried to reconstruct Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca Guerlain for women and menevery fraction of a bitter orange tree; from its flowers, fruits and twigs to leaves. The scent is very fresh and citrusy. It contains accords of orange, bitter orange, orange blossom, neroli, twigs and leaves of orange and petitgrain.

It is available as 75 ml Eau de Toilette.

In addition, Guerlain also will have a limited-edition travel exclusive perfume to the line which will be available only at international duty-free shops. The Perfume Shrine has more details:

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Flora Rosa Eau de Toilette Spray (limited Edition) (Travel Retail Exclusive) (not before 01.03.2013)The travel exclusive for 2013 is Flora Rosa by Guerlain and is a limited edition (just like Bouquet No.2 etc were before it). A fresh and lively interpretation on the rose blossom, Jean Paul Guerlain’s favorite flower, it is boosted by other floral anchoring notes to give it duration and depth, Flora Rosa aims to fill the void left by the previous, discontinued Aqua Allegorias Rosa Magnifica and Rosa Bianca from 2011.

The new Guerlain Flora Rosa will be available from 1st March 2013 in eau de toilette 75ml at the duty-free internationally, retailing for 47.50€.

The German duty-free site, Heinemann, shows it will be available for online purchase for travelers through any German airport and at the cost of €46.


Iris lovers may want to celebrate. In March 2013, Prada will launch a new, limited
edition flanker to its iris perfume, Infusion d’Iris. This one will bear the extremely long name of Prada Infusion d’Iris L’Eau d’Iris. Fragrantica has more details:

Extremely elegant and sophisticated fragrance Infusion d’Iris by Prada was launched in 2007. Its Eau de Toilette version was introduced in 2010, while in 2012 the collection expanded with the Eau de Parfum Absolue edition. Prada launches Infusion d’Iris L’Eau d’Iris in March 2013, inspired by spring flowers and the fusing of iris and laurel in the gardens of Tuscany. The fragrance is a limited edition.
Daniela Andrier created this composition as a fresh and delicate interpretation of iris scent. It opens with green accords of Moroccan mint and Tunisian neroli. Pink laurel bay, lily of the valley, rose, iris and orange blossom are placed in the heart. The velvety base includes accords of white musk, woods and vanilla.

Top notes: mint, neroli. Heart: laurel, iris, rose, lily of the valley, orange blossom. Base: white musk, woody notes, vanilla.

The perfume will be available as a 100 ml/3.4 oz Eau de Toilette.


Frederic Malle is taking a break from collaborating with famous perfumers and, instead, launching a collection with famous fashion designers. His first effort will be with designer, Dries van Noten, and the perfume will be released today, February 15, 2013. The Perfume Shrine has the full details but here are the highlights:

Not only is the collaboration with a fashion designer news, it’s also an innovation on the formula front, as the new Malle perfume is touted to be inclusive of a new, natural Indian sandalwood from a sustainable source. Indian sandalwood, for those who didn’t know, had essentially been eradicated from perfumery in the last 20 years or so, due to concerns and regulations on the sustainability of the Mysore sandalwood. The news therefore is a leap of hope for the industry in general and sure to create a real peak of interest in the heart of every perfume fan out there. The new fragrance is an oriental woody, smooth and polished like the designs of Van Noten.
The composition has been undertaken by rising perfumer Bruno Jovanovich of International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) The fragrance notes for the upcoming Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle are citron, sandalwood, guaiac wood, saffron, Spanish jasmine, tonka beans, Cashmeran/blonde woods, vanilla and musk.
As you can see the presentation of the bottle is also different than the rest of the Malle portfolio, as this is a separate line.

You can read more about the perfume, as well as the long discussion about it, on the Perfume Shrine link above.


The scion of the Hennessey part of the LVMH luxury conglomerate, Kilian Hennessey, will launch a new perfume in April for his Asian Tales Collection.  NST has more details:

By Kilian Flower of Immortality

Niche line By Kilian will launch Flower of Immortality in April. The fragrance is the third in the Asian tales collection that debuted in 2012 with Bamboo Harmony and Water Calligraphy. Flower of Immortality celebrates peach blossom, a symbol of immortality in Asian folklore.

Flower of Immortality is a fruity floral, and was developed by perfumer Calice Becker. Notes include white peach, carrot, iris, blackcurrant buds, rose, tonka bean and vanilla.

By Kilian Flower of Immortality will be available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum or in a 30 ml travel size, both refillable.


The Italian fashion house, Etro, is launching a new perfume in March 2013 called Rajasthan. Fragrantica has details as well as a photo of the colourful bottle:

Beautiful colors and bright, explosive shades are intertwined in the poetic composition of Rajasthan, which vividly depicts the splendor and glow of Maharadza’s palace. 

Rajasthan perfume opens with luminous accords of lemon combined with elegant Damascus rose and its powerful sweetness. A gentle note in top notes is provided by yellow mimosa. The heart accentuates floral notes of acacia spiced with pink pepper and warmed with a blend of amber, labdanum and white musk enriching the base.


damascus rose, mimosa, lemon
acacia, pink pepper
amber, labdanum, white musk

Etro Rajasthan arrives in a flacon embellished with cashmere motifs, playing with intense colors of bright pink and orange with tiny details in turquoise and purple, in the amount of 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The flacon design and notes of the composition reflect perfectly the beauty of India and offer a sort of passionate journey to the Orient.

I love that bottle! And I adore the perfume section of Etro’s website. Such colours, such vibrancy!


The old 19th-Century beauty and fragrance house has teamed up with the famous perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian, to create a new fig scent that will be released in March 2013. Fragrantica quotes from the press release as follows:

Roger & Gallet are launching a new fragrance in March 2013, a creation of famous perfumer Francis Kurkdjian! The central theme of the perfume is fig blossom (Fleur de Figuier). Its scent is taking us to the Mediterranean and the French Riviera, relaxing and resting our senses. The inspiration behind the fragrance lies in gardens full of figs, placed between Cannes and Saint-Raphael at Massif de l’Esterel—the coastal mountainous region of Southern France. Scents of fig leaves, branches, milk and sweet fruits are mixed with mountain air and sea aromas to create an irresistible composition created by nature.

Initial notes of the fragrance introduce a refreshing blend of mandarin, mixing their luminous and juicy zest with sparkling grapefruit in an explosion of energy. The citrusy union is spiced delicately with caraway, reminding us of sweet sun-bathed fig fruit. The heart adds a blend of fig leaves with juicy fig fruit, resting on a base of sensual musk and fig milk, leaving a warm and cuddly trail on the skin.

mandarin, grapefruit, caraway
fig leaf, fig fruit, fig milk
musk, cedar

ROGER & GALLET FLEUR DE FIGUIER is available as 30 and 100 ml Eau Fraiche accompanied with 200 ml body care lotion, 200 ml shower cream and perfumed soap (separately and in a set).  The brand’s perfumes usually range between $30-$65 and are available on Roger & Gallet website as well as at other retailers.


Tocca has released a new perfume inspired by the 1920s. NST has details from the press release:

Tocca Liliana fragrance

Tocca has launched Liliana, a new fragrance for women:

A lush, green, rolling lawn is the setting for a roaring 20s party in full swing. Liliana conjures a reveler in the bloom of youth dancing the Charleston amidst flowing bottles of champagne and a spirited jazz band.

The lowering sun casts a golden sparkle as an intoxicating bouquet of muguet, gardenia and peony wafts from the gardens, filling the night with joie de vivre.

Additional notes include bergamot, neroli, watery peach, sandalwood, musk, benzoin and patchouli.

Tocca Liliana is $68 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum or $20 for a 10 ml rollerball.

The perfume is already out and available at Sephora.


Yes, even Estée Lauder has given in to the Oud craze. No, there is absolutely no end in sight to the madness. The Moodie Report has details on the latest perfume, Amber Mystique, which will be an amber oud fragrance:

Estée Lauder is building on the success of its Wood Mystique fragrance (the brand’s first unisex scent that specifically targeted the Middle Eastern consumer) with the introduction of Amber Mystique. It will be on-counter in Middle Eastern travel retail doors from March, before rolling out to selected travel retail locations across the UK and Europe from June.
Described as “full-bodied, intricate and darkly ornate”, the oriental amber juice was created for the fragrance connoisseur who uses scent to convey status, personal signature and good taste, according to the brand. […]


The Amber Mystique juice features notes of amber, Taif Rose NP®, Oud Wood, blackcurrant, raspberry, pink pepper, ylang-ylang, Bulgarian Rose, jasmine, incense, patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum, leather and musk.
The fragrance is presented in a reworked version of the original Wood Mystique flacon, in amber tones to complement the name, with the EL cartouche embossed on the front.

Estee Lauder Amber Mystique will be introduced first in the Middle East in March and then available elsewhere in June. Despite the article not saying so, I assume it will be available in the US and will not be a purely European exclusive. It will come in a 100 ml Eau de Parfum version.


Vivienne Westwood will have a new perfume out in April. NST reports:

Vivienne Westwood Flirty Alice perfume

In April, Vivienne Westwood will launch Flirty Alice, the third in the series that includes 2010′s Naughty Alice and 2011′s Cheeky Alice.

Flirty Alice is a floral fragrance, and features notes of bergamot, green tea, rose, vanilla and blond woods.

Vivienne Westwood Flirty Alice will be available in 75 ml Eau de Toilette.


Fans of Kenzo‘s Amour line of fragrances may be happy to hear that there is a new flanker out on the market. NST reports the following:

Kenzo Amour My Love

Kenzo has launched Amour My Love, a new limited edition flanker to 2006′s Kenzo Amour. Amour My Love follows last year’s Amour I Love U.

Kenzo Amour my love is a new declaration of love. A fragrance where the freshness of pink grapefruit meets the sensuality of peony and rose. A generous trail, to celebrate romance. Fall in love again with Kenzo amour.

The fruity floral fragrance for women features notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry, peony, rose, cherry blossom, lilac, cedar and white musk.

Kenzo Amour My Love is available in 50 ml Eau de Toilette.


The famous old, Grasse perfume house, Fragonard, is very close to my heart. And they have just come out with new fragrances. NST has the details:

Fragonard Belle de Nuit Intense

French perfume house Fragonard has launched Belle de Nuit Intense, a followup to their Belle de Nuit fragrance for women. Also new from the brand: Muguet, and Confidentiel for men.

Belle de Nuit Intense ~ “The night is yours… The lady in blue’s perfume is both opulent diabolically sensual [sic]. A ylang ylang, tuberose, gardenia and pear top note moves on to a middle note of jasmine, rose and lily-of-the-valley, rounded off with a back note of sandalwood and musk for an unforgettable floral and fruity fragrance. In 200 ml Eau de Parfum, €45.

Fragonard Muguet

Muguet ~ “A lucky eau de toilette that celebrates a top note of neroli, pink peppercorn. Borne by a middle note of jasmine, freesia and lily-of-the-valley, on a spicy back note of amber, cedar and musk.” In 50 ml Eau de Toilette, €15, and in matching bath, body & home fragrance products.

Fragonard Confidentiel fragrance for men

Confidentiel ~ “A perfume of secrets… This new eau de toilette for men will not, however, go unnoticed! Pepper and pink peppercorn liven up the grapefruit for a fresh and spicy note. The middle note puts an accent on magnolia and incense on a cedar wood, patchouli and sandalwood back note.” In 100 and 200 ml refillable Eau de Toilette, or 600 ml refill; matching grooming products also sold.

(via fragonard)


Famed perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has created a new perfume for the classic house, Carven, which is also re-launching its famous Ma Griffe. NST has information on the new releases:

Carven Le Parfum

Carven will launch Carven Le Parfum, a new fragrance for women, and will relaunch the brand’s classic 1946 perfume Ma Griffe.

Le Parfum was developed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian; notes for the floral scent include hyacinth, sweet pea, ylang ylang, jasmine, osmanthus, apricot and sandalwood.

In the UK, Carven Le Parfum will be introduced at Harrods in early May. There is no information on when it will be released in the US.


Robert Piguet, makers of the famous Fracas and Bandit, has just released a new perfume called Bois Bleu which was created by Givaudaun perfumer Aurelien Guichard. It is not currently available in the US but will be soon. CaFleureBon has further details:

Robert Piguet Bois Bleu“The intensity of precious woods, the aromatic accents of fresh herbs and the delicate touch of invigorating citrus tell the story of Bois Bleu de Robert Piguet. This bold and dynamic woody elixir combines iconic Piguet sophistication with modern refinement, offering an opulent scent for those not afraid to make a style statement. Discover the warmth of rich woods delicately accented with nuances of lavender. The invigorating composition of woody notes is perfectly balanced by crisp citrus and warm herbs. Fresh bergamot lends a citrusy touch in the top note that is perfectly nuanced by an earthy violet and spiced nutmeg heart. To complete the opulent presentation, mysterious sandalwood mingles with sharp cedar and exotic vetiver to form a warm and refined drydown.”

Top notes: bergamot and citrus
Heart notes: nutmeg and violet
Base notes: sandalwood, cedar and vetiver

Bois Bleu is an eau de parfum and comes in a 100ml bottle for $150. It is currently out and available in the UK at Harrods where it costs £130.


In March, Jo Malone will release 5 new limited-edition fragrances inspired by British pudding and tea time treats. NST has the details:

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice visual

Jo Malone will follow 2011′s Tea Fragrance Blends collection with Sugar & Spice, a new limited edition quintet inspired by “quintessential British pudding” flavors. Look for them in March.

The Sugar & Spice fragrances were developed by perfumer Christine Nagel. The fragrances are Lemon Tart, Redcurrant & Cream, Elderflower & Gooseberry, Ginger Biscuit and Bitter Orange & Chocolate. (I will update with individual notes when I can.)

The Jo Malone Sugar & Spice collection will be available in 30 ml Cologne, £38 each or £190 for the set.

[S]ome brief fragrance notes ~

Lemon Tart ~ citrus fruits, verbena, meringue and lemon thyme.

Redcurrant & Cream ~ redcurrants, strawberries, raspberries and creamy musk.

Elderflower & Gooseberry ~ gooseberries, lychee and elderflower.

Ginger Biscuit ~ ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.

Bitter Orange & Chocolate ~ orange, cocoa, coconut and coumarin.

The perfumes are already mentioned on the Jo Malone website but there is no product or pricing information. I assume those will be provided and updated after March 1, 2013.


I saved the best for last, if only because of one of the photos. Adam Levine has collaborated with a well-known perfume “nose” to make Adam Levine for Women and Adam Levine for Men. To my surprise, they have received a great review. (Yes, it apparently shocked the reviewer at CaFleureBon himself.) Mr. Levine does not seem to be like the majority of celebrities out there who leave the perfume details to the marketing team and focus groups. Instead, he seems to have played a very active part in things. And he also recruited someone who CaFleureBon called one of the top perfume noses around: Yann Vasnier from Givaudan. “M. Vasnier has slowly been letting a niche aesthetic find its way into his mainstream releases. He has been the most persistent in attempting this and in these two fragrances I think we’ve come to the place where we’re about to find out if the great majority of fragrance shoppers are ready to take a walk on the niche side.” All of this for perfumes that cost $35 an ounce!

As for the perfumes themselves, Fragrantica has a full report:

In February 2013, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is launching fragrances for men and women, with a wish to impress the world of today, according to his words. Fragrances are launched under license by ID Perfumes and Adam collaborated with perfumers of the house of Givaudan on the realization of his idea. “The fragrances are as innovative as they are classic. The bottles take the form of a microphone, with a luxurious, weighted cap in silver mesh. The black stem resembles the wire of a microphone, simple and sleek.”

ADAM LEVINE for WOMEN: The fragrance for women has been announced as intoxicating, sexy, unleashed… A fragrance that attracts and keeps the attention. Top notes will allure you with a blend of saffron, citruses, marigold and spices. The heart encompasses gentle petals of Indian jasmine, Australian sandalwood and rose petals, while the base is composed of benzoin tears and seductive, creamy vanilla. The perfume is available as 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum.

saffron, citruses, marigold, spices
Indian jasmine, Australian sandalwood, rose petals
benzoin tears, vanilla

ADAM LEVINE for MEN: The edition for men leaves an unforgettable trail which opens with juicy mandarin, grapefruit and lemongrass. Aromatic support is provided by sage and violet leaf. The heart adds passion fruit, guava leaf and freshly cut ginger, on a base of cedar, sandalwood and amber. The perfume can be obtained as 30, 50 and 100ml Eau de Toilette.

mandarin, graperfuit, lemongrass, sage, violet leaf
passion fruit, guava leaf, ginger
cedar, sandalwood, amber

The fragrances debuted in Los Angeles on January 31, 2013 at Macy’s. In New York, they will be available also at Macy’s Herald Square on February 15th. You can find details at this link for the February 15th appearance. The perfumes cost $65 for a large 3.4 oz/100 ml size bottle and are available right now on the Macy’s website with a special “Bonus Offer.” You can read more at http://adamlevine-fragrances.com/.

But, wait, that’s not all. Apparently, Adam Levine is determined to become the Martha Stewart of celebrity perfumers because there are reports that he will be releasing two more fragrances (and as soon as the next two months)! From Glamazon Diaries, the details are as follows:

Maroon 5 front man and The Voice judge Adam Levine is said to be working on a new fragrance project with ID Perfumes called 222 by Adam Levine. The men’s and women’s scents, which will launch in May 2013, will be sold in department and specialty stores in the US as well as expansion to Canada, Mexico, South America, the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East.

The project is currently in progress with no announcement of the notes that will be included for each perfume.  The eau de parfum will be available in 1 oz., 1.7 oz. and 3.4 oz. flacons, retailing for $36, $45 and $65, respectively.

Well, I must say, I think he has a beautiful body. The disembodied hands, however….