perfumesilove

Luca Turin's perfume reviews @perfumes_ilove perfumesIlove@gmail.com

niche houses

SP Parfums

Sven Pritzkoleit’s disarming house style is unique in the industry. His packaging is a mix of Roger & Gallet and organic-store Reformhaus, the goofy mugshots on his website are as remote from Tom Ford bedroom eyes as it is possible to be, and the whole thing fairly fizzes with unpretentious enthusiasm. Even the box the perfume samples came in was in character: large, with a fat piece of tape top left bearing […]

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Neela Vermeire

In my post about MDCI I yesterday I mentioned that niche firms, guided by the Unseen Hand of market forces, may end up repopulating a vast empty space abandoned by most mainstream outfits, the Land of Nice Fragrance. Neela Vermeire is a perfect illustration of this. I have always thought of her as the Douanier Rousseau of perfume, composing an imagined Subcontinent refracted through French eyes, a sort of contemporary Indes Galantes. […]

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MDCI

MDCI earned its place as a fixed first-magnitude star in the perfume heavens with its first batch of fragrances, released between 2000 and 2003, which included definitive masterpieces like Invasion Barbare, Promesse de l’Aube and Enlèvement au Sérail. That is a very hard act to follow. The trickiest moment for a niche company is the transition from novelty to continuity, when a brand hits its stride, acquires customers that are not necessarily aficionados, […]

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Antonio Alessandria

  If you look up Antonio Alessandria’s fragrances in Michael Edwards indispensable database, you will encounter an apt word used again and again to describe them: opulent. If I were —heaven forfend— an aromatherapist, I would prescribe them all, taken twice daily in rotation on a smelling strip, as a cure for melancholia. When the world seems drained of color and light, call AA and all will be well. Many artisan firms  are (knowingly or not) […]

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4160 Tuesdays

 This is a brand I had heard of many times over the years and smelled distractedly one or twice. Now a big sample set came, all individually wrapped like candies. The natural color of the fragrances, indicative of a high percentage of non-decolorised naturals, is already a sight for sore noses. I was planning to smell then four by four, to give me time to rest, but they were sufficiently interesting that […]

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Dusita

Originality can enter fragrance at various levels. A fragrance can be original because it uses a novel raw material, because it combines raw materials in a novel accord, or, rarest of all,  because it uses a distinctive stylistic voice that is independent of the exact accord and carries over from one perfume to another. There was definitely a Jacques Guerlain voice, a Roudnitska voice, more recently a Chris Sheldrake/Serge Lutens one and definitely an Elléna voice. […]

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Rising Phoenix Perfumery

Years ago a friend of mine who happened to be a Hi-Fi dealer in Nice (we met as a result of me sitting on the couch in his listening room for days on end) told me that the most impressive recording he ever heard was a direct-to-wax recording of Enrico Caruso on a mechanical Grammophone. The sound, he said, was completely inadequate by modern standards, but there was a magical freshness to it […]

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Nu_Be

Nu_Be sent me their “elements” sample collection, eight fragrances going from Hydrogen to Curium. In order to do them justice as compositions, I’m going to have to ignore the complete disconnect between the element and the fragrance. This, incidentally, was not inevitable: carbon, oxygen and sulfur at the very least could have been far closer to the idea that a fragrance chemist might form of their influence on odor character. Oddly, the two […]

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Angela Ciampagna

One of the many wonderful things about the Web is the fact that you can set up a perfumery in a heavenly small hill village in Italy’s Teramo province and expect, all being well, to become known all over the world and thrive. Angela Ciampagna’s collection is beautifully presented and comprises nine fragrances. My two favorites are Liquo and Nox: Liquo: I always think of liquorice as vetiver’s friendly sibling, and it is an […]

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Coolife

I had not heard of Coolife, and probably a good thing too, because the naff name and the glib patter on their first fragrance “It harnesses the power of scent […] to unite lovers in an irrational and convulsive attraction” would have put me in a grim mood. As it was, I smelled them first and read them later, which turns out to be generally a good idea. The Parfums are straightforwardly numbered from Premier to Quatrième. The first […]

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