Maison Francis Kurkdjian Pluriel Masculin ~ fragrance review

Most fougère fragrances are overtly manly and smell old fashioned to contemporary “noses.” When I smell a classic fougère, I think of a well-off/well-fed, outdoorsy, conservatively dressed and groomed man of a certain age, who, when not traipsing through wet woods hunting or hiking, holds court in a plaid-rich den (in a log cabin if resources allow) with one hand clutching a whiskey and the other resting on the forehead of a happy Labrador retriever. Let’s call this guy Traditional. The only fougère perfume I truly loved is extinct: Houbigant Fougère Royale (I don’t much care for the reissue) — it conjured the outdoors, but was dry and buoyant, not soggy.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian just released a new fougère fragrance, Pluriel Masculin: a man can be “one and many things at the same time” sayeth Kurkdjian…

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Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu, Catherine Deneuve and a Neanderthal

How many people know what REAL patchouli smells like? It seems fewer and fewer perfumistas have smelled “dirty” natural patchouli. The patchouli most used in perfumes these days is clean and crease-less, its damp/dank, earthy/root-y character has been dimmed or eliminated. Brutish, chest-thumping patchouli has been replaced in designer fragrances with patchouli that could be characterized as either an elegant lady or a freshly laundered, cuddly teddy bear who has cocoa-scented breath, with a dab of vanilla extract behind each ear.

Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu doesn’t go the ladylike or gourmand routes; its patchouli retains a natural “edge.” If real patchouli is Homo neanderthalensis and contemporary patchouli is Homo Catherine Deneuve, Tom Ford Patchouli (Absolu) is…Tom Ford himself…

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Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque with wild tobacco images

It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a new Serge Lutens perfume release. Today, I’m reviewing an eleven-year-old Lutens, a personal favorite. I’ve referenced Fumerie Turque1 in almost every tobacco-perfume review I’ve posted over the years, yet never got around to writing about it. I’m down to my last half-inch of Fumerie Turque, so it’s now or, maybe, never!

Tobacco perfumes are varied, but the actual tobacco note I smell most often in colognes is domineering. Even when surrounded by other strong fragrance notes, eventually, tobacco will triumph.

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Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail ~ fragrance review

The Turkish Page by William Merritt Chase, detail

It seems the more you throw into a perfume formula the less you smell (as in individual fragrance notes). Looking over the Naomi Goodsir Or du Sérail ingredients list (apple, orange, mango, coconut, honey, rum, tobacco, clary sage, maté, amber, davana, beeswax, cocoa, geranium, ylang ylang, oak, cedar, vanilla, labdanum, musk)…then sniffing Or du Sérail…bears this theory out. Most of those notes just blend in.

I’d love to have a magical machine; I’d place a perfume in the Per/Fume-Separator and order it: “Remove cocoa!” “Delete maté!” “Obliterate beeswax!” It would be interesting to see what notes do make a discernible difference in a scent…

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Arquiste The Architects Club ~ fragrance review

Arquiste The Architects Club

Cocktail time, March 1930, London: A group of architects gather for cocktails at Mayfair’s smartest Art Deco smoking room. As they settle in the warm interior of dark woods, leather and velvet, London’s bright young things burst in, frosted martinis in hand, surrounded by a cloud of laughter, white smoke and fine vanilla.

That’s Arquiste…talking about the inspiration for its latest perfume — The Architects Club. The fragrance was developed by one of my favorite perfumers, Yann Vasnier, who was guided in its creation by the imagined aromas of “the smoking room at Claridge’s in Mayfair” circa 1930. After smelling The Architects Club, I had to tweak the PR…

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